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POLITICO New York Health Care, presented by the NYeC Gala & PATH Awards: Potential Cuomo challenger points fingers on demise of Health Republic

Dear readers: POLITICO New York Pro subscribers receive this email at 5:30 a.m. each weekday. If you'd like to receive it at that time, along with a customized real-time news feed of New York health care policy news throughout the day, please contact us at lenglander@politico.com and we'll set you up for trial access.

written by Josefa Velasquez

CUOMO COMMENTS ON HEALTH REPUBLIC — Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday night sought to share responsibility for the shut down of Health Republic Insurance of New York with the federal government, hours after a Republican congressman and possible challenger blamed the governor for not being more engaged. Cuomo, speaking in Puerto Rico, said the state had been working "hand in glove" with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to unwind the insurer and transition its 200,000 customers — 20 percent of the individual market — to a new carrier in the next nine days. Those Health Republic customers who fail to do so will lose their health insurance on Dec. 1.

...But even as Cuomo sought to distance himself from the biggest disaster to hit New York's otherwise lauded state health exchange, many questioned whether state officials should have seen this coming, or could be doing more to help customers find a new insurer. On Thursday, Republican Rep. Chris Gibson,called for an independent investigation of the state Department of Financial Services, and suggested state regulators missed the warning signs. On Thursday night, in response to Cuomo's comments, Gibson reiterated his call for an investigation. "What remains to be known is whether this was a result of incompetence or dishonesty on Health Republic's part, or negligence on the part of DFS," he said in an email. "Regardless, this happened on Governor Cuomo's watch and New Yorkers deserve an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this." Read more here: http://politi.co/1Heq0jS

...On Capitol Hill, Tim Murphy, chairman of the Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee, promised to provide vigorous scrutiny of why more than half the 23 non-profit startups established with $2.4 billion in loans have now collapsed, POLITICO reports. “Democrats, who went easy on CMS earlier in the week, signaled that they might take a tougher tack on the Obama administration's oversight of the co-op program. Ranking member Diana DeGette questioned why the startup insurers were big financial losers in the risk adjustment program and why administration officials continued to promise well into the summer that health plans would receive their full risk corridors payments.”

SHARE ME: Like this newsletter? Please tell a friend to sign up. Give them this link: http://politi.co/1gMLiJV

AND MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW Josefa and me on Twitter @J__Velasquez & @DanCGoldberg. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @katiedjennings

TAUB DETAILS RELATIONSHIP WITH SILVER — Defense attorneys for former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver attempted to undercut one of the government’s star witnesses on Thursday, POLITICO New York’s Colby Hamilton reports. After Dr. Robert Taub suggested that the oversight to receive state grants was more lax than he expected, Steven Molo took Taub through the numerous waivers, agreements and notices that went along with the approval for the grants. The paperwork included layers of bureaucracy from Columbia and New York Presbyterian Hospital, and Molo noted that both the New York State Attorney General's and Comptroller’s office had signed off on both contracts for the grants. Taub said he felt like the paperwork was a formality. http://politi.co/1MC50zI [PRO]

...The funds that were sent to Taub came from another pool of money through the Health Care Reform Act, which allocated $8.5 million a year in discretionary spending—money that Silver alone controlled. When legislators’ projects were funded, Silver’s office told them. When Silver’s office decided to send funding, no one but the recipient was the wiser. http://politi.co/1WDIk7U

NOW WE KNOW — Burgers, fries, soda and candy are likely not the reasons for the rate of obesity increasing in the U.S., a study published in Obesity Science & Practice found. Researchers at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab found the majority of weight problems are not caused by consumption of soda, candy and fast food alone. Rather, the researchers concluded, "we need to look at the overall diet, and physical activity.” http://bit.ly/1StR8ga

WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU: This roundup is for you, so please tell us how we can make it even better. Send tips, news, ideas, calendar items, releases, promotions, job postings, birthdays, congratulations, criticisms and corrections to dgoldberg@politico.com.

** A message from the New York eHealth Collaborative’s Gala & PATH Awards: Join 300 CEOs, C-level executives, and influencers from New York State health systems, health plans, large employers, and the public sector leading New York's healthcare transformation by reshaping it into a new, secure, digital system. The awards honor individuals and organizations who have contributed to the advancement of health IT in New York State. 2015 Honorees: Steven M. Safyer, MD, President & CEO, Montefiore Medical Center; and Jason Gorevic, CEO, Teladoc. Register today to join our exclusive community of healthcare leaders. November 18, 2015, at Capital, New York, NY. **

A FAMILIAR FACE— Jim Introne, the former state deputy secretary of health has been once again lured out of retirement to help the state transform the health care system in Brooklyn, Crain’s reports. According to the state Department of Health, Introne was hired “to assist the department in managing the transformation of the health care system in central and eastern Brooklyn.” Introne will be working on a part time basis helping providers “plan and undertake the necessary transitional strategies that can assure the availability of sustainable, high-quality health services in Brooklyn."

LEGIONNAIRES’ UPDATE — The culprit behind the Legionnaires’ outbreak at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse appears to be a type of faucet that was designed to reduce water use. In the low-flow faucets, water can collect and develop bacteria, said Kathy Ruscitto, the hospital’s president and CEO. The hospital is now considering replacing all 475 low-flow faucets. http://bit.ly/1kdrIrR

...The Syracuse-Post Standard criticized the hospital for its lack of disclosure surrounding the outbreak. http://bit.ly/1LSGxJ7

OPENING SHOP — In an effort to reach more customers, MVP Health Care is opening up a kiosk at the Colonie Center mall. The retail space, set up like a mini-office, according to the Albany Times Union, will allow customers to get information on insurance options and enroll in a plan. http://bit.ly/1PqWwRe

NEW LOGO — North Shore-LIJ, which will become Northwell Health in January, has a new logo. See it here: http://bit.ly/1PdEgfm

CARECONNECT PARTNERS WITH FREELANCERS UNION The Freelancers Union will offer a link to CareConnect plans on its National Benefits Platform, a marketing boon for the insurer started by North Shore-LIJ. “Freelancers want quality, portable health insurance but are uniquely sensitive to rising healthcare costs. We’ve whittled the hundreds of options they would find on the exchange down to the few that best meet these needs,” Sara Horowitz, Freelancers Union founder and executive director, said in a press release. “We did this by both listening to our members, and by relying on our 10-year track record of helping gig workers find affordable coverage.” The partnership with CareConnect marks the first expansion of Freelancers Union’s National Benefits Platform since it launched in 2014. http://prn.to/1PdBQh5

RONALD MCDONALD — Executives from Ronald McDonald House New York and the Health and Hospitals corporation held a ceremony this week to kick off the construction of a Ronald McDonald Family Room in the hospital. The Family Room is expected to be completed and open for use by NICU families in spring 2016. http://on.nyc.gov/1PdBgQi

MAKING ROUNDS — Dr. Robert Tranbaugh joined New York Methodist Hospital as chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. http://bit.ly/1kxrQSH

WHAT WE’RE READING:

-UNINSURED RATE DROPS — The number of uninsured Americans fell to just 9 percent (or 28.5 million people) in the first half of 2015 — a drop of roughly 7.5 million people from 2014 and 16.3 million people in 2013, according to new data from the CDC. The biggest decrease in the uninsured, the data show, occurred in Medicaid expansion states. Read more here: http://1.usa.gov/1RXSTRQ

-PREGNANCY POUNDS — Roughly half the women in the United States gain too much weight while pregnant while another 20 percent don’t gain enough, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. Less than one-third of pregnant women put on the right amount of baby weight. Women need to eat only about 350 to 450 extra calories in their second and third trimester. Normal weight women should gain between 25 and 35 pounds, while overweight women should gain between 15 and 25 pounds. http://nbcnews.to/1kdGgrk

-SHOP TROUBLES — Kaiser Health News reports that the small business exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act are struggling to catch on. http://bit.ly/1HeujM8

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the state’s Department of Health. If you have asthma, make sure you get a flu shot because the illness may exacerbate asthma http://on.ny.gov/1RA5afk

STUDY THIS:

-DEFENSIVE MEDICINE WORKS — POLITICO reports on a BMJ study that looked at whether doctors who spent more on care faced fewer malpractice lawsuits. “Turns out they do, in six of seven different specialties the study analyzed. That's true even when you account for patient and case-mix — and the relationship holds true even when comparing how a single physician compares from year to year, which should eliminate most variables. That has significant implications for efforts to reduce costs in health care, according to author Anupam Jena, a Harvard Medical School associate professor.” The study: http://bit.ly/1PbpZ2W

--HAPPINESS ON THE DECLINE — Researchers at San Diego University found that adults over the age of 30 are not as happy as they used to be. On the plus side, teens and young adults are happier than ever. Data shows that 38 percent of adults older than 30 were “very happy” in the early 1970s, which shrunk to 32 percent in the 2010s. http://bit.ly/1iGJFgK

** A message from the New York eHealth Collaborative’s Gala & PATH Awards: Join 300 CEOs, C-level executives, and influencers from New York State health systems, health plans, large employers, and the public sector leading New York's healthcare transformation by reshaping it into a new, secure, digital system. The awards honor individuals and organizations who have contributed to the advancement of health IT in New York State. 2015 Honorees: Steven M. Safyer, MD, President & CEO, Montefiore Medical Center; and Jason Gorevic, CEO, Teladoc. Register today to join our exclusive community of healthcare leaders. November 18, 2015, at Capital, New York, NY. **

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here: 11/5, 11/4, 11/3, 11/2, 10/30

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