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POLITICO New York Health Care: City reports neonatal herpes case linked to metzitzeh b'peh -- More money for ambulances -- Senate dems call for single payer

By Dan Goldberg | 03/09/2017 10:01 AM EDT

Good morning! You are reading a complimentary synopsis of the POLITICO New York Pro Health Care newsletter. Pro subscribers receive a premium version of this newsletter, which includes an enhanced look-ahead and robust analysis of the health care news driving the day, weekdays at 5:45 a.m. Contact us here to learn more.

NEONATAL HERPES — The city's health department reported the year's first case of neonatal herpes believed to be caused by metzitzah b'peh, the controversial circumcision ritual that involves orally sucking blood away from the wound. This is the first time the health department has alerted the public to a case of neonatal herpes since 2015, when the city's Board of Health repealed a Bloomberg-era requirement that parents sign a consent form alerting them to the dangers of placing an adult mouth on an infant's open wound. Read my story here.

SIREN CALL — The state Department of Health is recommending adjusting Medicaid ambulance reimbursements, which, according to industry officials, are too low, resulting in companies hemorrhaging funds and forcing some to shutter. The health department this week released a much anticipated report on Medicaid ambulance rate adequacy. The report concluded that Medicaid ambulance rates should be increased to 75 percent of the average per ambulance trip cost over a "multi-year period." Read more from Josefa Velasquez here.

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NOW WE KNOW — Long tossing is an important part of baseball conditioning, and no one can agree on what it means, according to a study in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine.

SINGLE-PAYER — As Congressional Republicans work to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Democrats in the state Senate on Wednesday pitched a proposal to create a single-payer health system. Read more here.

FOR THE CHILDREN — The United Hospital Fund announced Wednesday that it is partnering with 11 hospitals across New York City to screen children for environmental risks that interfere with their development. The program is being support with $700,000 from the Altman Foundation and The New York Community Trust. Learn more about the grant initiative here.

ASKING ALBANY — More than 100 organizations from across the state signed a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the leaders of the Legislature, calling for a commitment to eliminate hepatitis C, and, more specifically, an additional $10.8 million in this year's budget to combat the virus. The statement comes one month after activists held a hepatitis C elimination summit in Albany. Read the consensus statement here.

MAKING ROUNDS — Dr. David Purow has been appointed the chairman of medicine at Huntington Hospital.


U.S. EXPANSION — Apotex Inc.


OBAMACARE LATEST — In a private Oval Office meeting with conservative activists Wednesday, President Donald Trump sold Paul Ryan's health care bill as strong and necessary. But minutes later his top aides offered some willingness to consider changing some of the core provisions, even as Trump himself suggested a fallback position. My colleagues in D.C. have the rest here.

'TRUMPCARE?' NOT IF THE PRESIDENT CAN HELP IT President Donald Trump, is already hedging his bets, remarkable for a man who isn't afraid to put his name on something, anything really. Trump, the master of branding, doesn't seem to be interested in tying his name to the Republican health care bill. Jen Haberkorn and our White House colleague, Matt Nussbaum have the story here.

HOW THE GAME IS PLAYED — House Democrats on Wednesday fought to stall an Obamacare repeal bill that Republicans, still facing deep intraparty divisions over the measure, are trying to push toward the House floor and eventually the White House. The first public debates over the bill were a mirror image of the bitter 2009 debate over the passage of Obamacare, with accusations about a lack of transparency and the majority party rushing things through. But this time, it was Democrats leveling the charges. Read more here.

WANT TO KNOW HOW NEW YORK CONGRESSMEN FEEL? — Read this story by my D.C. colleagues about the tough vote in store for Republicans from more moderate districts. Republican members in swing districts are likeliest to feel the squeeze — and would be taking the greatest political risk to back the president and the party. Read more here.

ANOTHER LOCAL ANGLE — Rep. John Faso on Wednesday said that the bill put forward by House Republicans to replace the Affordable Care Act is not a panacea, but he likes "the general direction" of the legislation. Among the questions Faso would like to see answered is whether the advance refundable tax credits are "sufficient" for individuals of "modest means" who are not provided insurance through an employer. Read more here.

DRIP, DRIP, DRIP — The New York Times reports: "Influential groups representing hospitals and nurses came out on Wednesday against a Republican bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, joining doctors and the retirees' lobby to warn that it would lead to a rise in the uninsured."

A PLAN YOU COULDN'T VOTE AGAINST — Forget the official Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, last week introduced health care legislation entitled the "World's Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017."

USE IT OR LOSE IT — The Wall Street Journal reports: "Some people across the country who have benefited from the ACA, concerned about Republican efforts to topple the law, are now rushing to get treatments, visit doctors and find alternative ways to pay for their medical costs."

NOT ELEMENTARY — The Wall Street Journal reports: "In 2012, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center launched an ambitious project with International Business Machines Corp.'s Watson program that promised to transform cancer care with the help of artificial intelligence. Almost five years and more than $62 million later, the sprawling Houston-based public institution has little to show for it, according to a special review conducted by the University of Texas System Audit Office that details a number of stumbles in the progress and management of the project." Read the rest here.

A CLOSER LOOK AT OBESITY The Agenda at POLITICO dives into efforts to combat America's growing obesity problem, which has huge implications for the health care system and society. Our deep look at the problem includes a story about a bold national experiment to tackle obesity, why funding lags for crop research and the evil genius of buffalo wings. Read more here.

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from Northwell Health: "When it comes to colon cancer, screening & early detection save lives. Take the first step toward prevention." More here.


SMOKING TROUBLE — Smokers who are quitting drugs are more likely to relapse than non-smokers, according to a study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the City University of New York published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Read the study.

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