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By Dan Goldberg | 04/05/2017 09:59 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.
BUDGET — State budget bills trickled out Tuesday evening. The Senate and Assembly introduced several policy bills, known in Capitol parlance as the Article VII's, but the appropriation bills have yet to be seen. Lawmakers noted that several, more contentious proposals could be tucked away in those revenue bills. The Senate, around 11 p.m., approved the health and mental hygiene section (HMH) by a 59-1 vote
... Here is what we know so far: The state budget agreement includes new requirements for small public water systems to test for contaminants, including the toxic chemical that caused a water crisis in Hoosick Falls. The list must include PFOA, the chemical that was discovered in Hoosick Falls; PFOS, which was found in Newburgh's water; and 1,4-dioxane, which has been found at high levels in Long Island. Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for small water systems serving fewer than 10,000 people be required to test for contaminants that are listed by the EPA but not regulated in September. The final agreement is somewhat scaled back and modified from Cuomo's plan, which would have also mandated testing of private wells. Republican Sen. Kemp Hannon, who chairs the Health Committee, said testing requirements needed to be established first. "You don't really have many contaminant levels people would have to test for. There's nothing preventing people from testing but if you're going to start to go in with mandates, you have to have something to test for," Hannon said. "Private wells are private wells, people can do the testing they want. But if we're going to mandate it we have to have that structure." Read more from POLITICO New York's Marie French.
The health section is also notable for what isn't there:
— Gone are cuts to the New York City's health department, which health commissioner Mary Bassett recently said would have caused cuts to the number of TB public health advisers and asthma counseling staff, reduced funding for tobacco and obesity media campaigns, and a forced the closure of a sexual health clinic.
— Absent, too, is language that threatened to pull $50 million from the city's Medicaid program if the de Blasio administration couldn't figure out a way to find $100 million in new Medicaid revenue.
— The Cuomo administration's plan to have people who earn between 138 percent and 150 percent of the federal poverty level pay $20 per month for the Essential Plan, a health insurance option for low-income residents, also isn't in the Article VII.
— Cuomo's proposal to create a Health Care Regulation Modernization Team was also left out.
— As we noted Monday, the ambitious proposals to rein in pharmaceutical costs have been watered down.
— The budget language would allow a provider's Medicaid enrollment for "inappropriate prescribing of opioids." Details on how that would occur wasn't immediately available because that subsection of the bill was "intentionally omitted."
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HARLEM HAPPENINGS — When Mary Bassett took over the health commissioner job in early 2014, one of her first directives was to bring back health action centers, neighborhood facilities that would offer a variety of clinical and social services in the midst of the city's most disadvantaged neighborhoods. On Tuesday, a little more than three years after her tenure began, Bassett toured the East Harlem Health Action Center, a multi-purpose building on East 115th Street that she said will be a "starting point for health." Read more here.
WITCH HUNT — Some in the Charedi community are not happy with the de Blasio administration's new Metzitzah b'peh policy. "Do we just blame people by means of association?" asked Rabbi Levi Y. Heber, a prominent Crown Heights mohel. Read more here.
NOW WE KNOW — Those white noise machines may not be such a gimmick. Turns out that nature sounds — a bubbling brook or the wind whistling through the willows — actually helps you relax, according to a study in Scientific Reports. Read more here.
$300 MILLION — The Utica Observer-Dispatch reports: "The Mohawk Valley Health System has been awarded $300 million in state funding toward the cost of building a new hospital."
WATER WORKS — In a little-noticed announcement in its newsletter Friday, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that it had approved cleanup plans for five New York City waterways — part of the city's unending quest to clean up sewage from surrounding waters.
BABY LEADS — The New York attorney general joined a whistleblower lawsuit accusing an AstraZeneca unit of defrauding Medicaid by obtaining confidential data on infants in order to boost sales of a key medicine, according to STAT.
UPGRADE — Crain's reports: "New York-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital — the borough's only hospital south of 14th Street — is getting a $23 million face-lift."
MAKING ROUNDS — Dr. Takao Hensch, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School's Boston Children's Hospital, has been awarded the Mortimer D. Sackler, MD Prize for Distinguished Achievement in Developmental Psychobiology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Weill Cornell Medicine will announce today.
ALSO MAKING ROUNDS — Dr. Bruce Gelb, the Gogel Family Professor of Child Health and Development and Professor of Pediatrics, and Genetics and Genomic Sciences, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Director of The Mindich Child Health and Development Institute, has been elected President of the American Pediatric Society. Read the press release here.
PHARMA REPORT — ADDICTED TO OPIOID CASH — The Intercept reports
WHAT WE'RE READING:
OBAMACARE LATEST — My colleagues in D.C. report: "A renewed bid by the White House to unite fractious Republicans around the bill — left for dead a week ago — briefly raised expectations that a deal was imminent. But by Tuesday afternoon, leaders of the polarized factions of the House GOP were no closer to agreement than they were when talks collapsed last month and dealt an embarrassing defeat to Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan."
... The fundamentals haven't really changed: As far as anyone can tell the House Republicans cannot produce a plan they all like.
SODA TAX — Philly's soda tax is headed back to court on Wednesday, when a state Appellate Court will hear arguments over the legality of the tax, the Philly Inquirer reports.
WHERE TO DIE — Mongolia is a surprisingly good place to die. Ready why here.
TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the Community Healthcare Network's chief medical officer, Dr. Matthew Weissman: "Colon cancer screening starts at 50 for most people, but earlier if you are African-American or at high risk. Talk to your doctor about screening tests, including both colonoscopies and stool-based tests."
FEMALE AND MINORITY DOCS GET PAID LESS — White male physicians make significantly more money than their female and minority counterparts, according to the latest salary survey from Medscape. See the rest of the results from the survey of 19,200 physicians here.
KEEPING THE KIDS ALIVE — NPR reports that child deaths have dropped from 14.2 million In 1990 To 7.3 million In 2015. "The world is doing a much better job of keeping babies alive long enough to become children, children alive long enough to become teens and teens alive long enough to fully grow up, according to a report in JAMA Pediatrics. ... But it's not all good news." Read the rest here.
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