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POLITICO New York Health Care: Community health care worried about federal cuts -- Schneiderman's latest suit -- Trump is all over the place on CSRs

By Dan Goldberg | 10/19/2017 09:59 AM EDT

HOUSEKEEPING — I'll be in Albany next Tuesday through Thursday and, as always, would love to meet with readers to discuss how we can do a better job, what stories we are missing, and what we should be paying attention to during the coming legislative session. Email me at

COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS ARE WORRIED — Hundreds of community-based primary care providers in New York are grappling with the loss of $166 million from the federal government. Federally Qualified Health Centers, which typically serve low-income communities irrespective of a person's insurance coverage, received an increase in federal funding as part of the Affordable Care Act. The Community Health Center Fund — which totaled $3.6 billion this past fiscal year — was originally set to expire at the end of the 2015 fiscal year, but Congress stepped in to extend the program another 24 months. That funding — along with a state-federal matching program to provide health care for children of low-income families — expired with the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30 despite broad bipartisan support in Washington D.C. and locally. Debate over reauthorizing the programs got put on the backburner as Congressional Republicans unsuccessfully attempted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, an effort that consumed much of leaders' attention. But for New York's 68 community health centers, which operate roughly hundreds of facilities throughout the state, it means they must reckon with a loss of roughly 70 percent of their federal funding unless Congress steps in. More from Nick here.

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ALEXANDER & MURRAY TO RELEASE BILL TODAY — Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray plan to release their bill text on the Senate floor Thursday along with a "significant" number of Republicans and Democrats, Alexander told POLITICO's Jennifer Haberkorn on Wednesday. He declined to say how many allies he would have.

I'M CONFUSED — Here is what President Donald Trump said about the Obamacare agreement reached by Alexander and Murray.

— In the Rose Garden on Tuesday, Trump made supportive statements of the Alexander-Murray deal, calling for a "short-term solution so we don't have this very dangerous little period" for the insurance markets.

— Speaking to The Heritage Foundation Tuesday night, he called on Congress to focus on "a solution to the Obamacare mess instead of providing bailouts to insurance companies."

— On Wednesday, he tweeted, "I am supportive of Lamar as a person & also of the process, but I can never support bailing out ins co's who have made a fortune w/ O'Care."

— Wednesday afternoon: "Well, we'll see the bipartisan. We're gonna see the bipartisan. And Lamar Alexander's working on it very hard, from our side. And if something can happen, that's fine. But I won't do anything to enrich the insurance companies' cause right now, the insurance companies, they're being enriched. They've been enriched by Obamacare like nothing anybody's ever seen before. I am not gonna do anything to enrich the insurance companies."

... Here is something else that's confusing: Trump said insurance companies are getting rich off Obamacare and it needs to be stopped, but the Department of Health and Human Services was touting how insurance companies were fleeing Obamacare markets because no one could make any money.

SCHNEIDERMAN SUIT — State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and several colleagues filed a motion Wednesday seeking to force the federal government to continue paying health insurance subsidies while other legal action is pending. More from Nick here.

DECISION COMING — A federal judge said Wednesday he plans to rule next week on a request to force the Trump administration to make Obamacare subsidy payments that it plans to cut off beginning with a payment due on Friday. More from POLITICO here.

NOW WE KNOW — How much do you really know about squirrel behavior? How much do you want to know? Explore some common squirrel behaviors below; then watch the video to see them in action.

CHIP CLOCK — It's been 19 days since Congress let the Children's Health Insurance Program lapse. New York has enough cash to keep its program running through December.

FOLLOW THE MONEY — Uber Technologies was the state's largest spender on lobbying in the first half of 2017, according to numbers released by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics on Wednesday. Uber spent $1.8 million from January through June of this year. The Greater New York Hospital Association finished second with $1.5 million, and the landlord-backed Rent Stabilization Association came in third with $943,280. View JCOPE's full analysis, as well as a link to updated lobbying data, here.

CLOSING THE LOOP — Stan Brezenoff, the outgoing CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, has dropped plans to sue the state and will resume filling half of the agency's vacancies created by attrition, according to a letter he sent to staff Wednesday. The letter follows a two-week dispute during which Brezenoff decried a Cuomo administration decision to withhold Disproportionate Share Hospital funding from the public hospital system.

MUMPS — The Syracuse Post-Standard reports: "The number of confirmed mumps cases at Syracuse University has risen to 24. There are also 27 probable cases."

NAMING RIGHTS — The NewYork-Presbyterian Spine Hospital will now be the Daniel and Jane Och Spine Hospital at NewYork-Presbyterian. The Ochs donated $25 million. Daniel Och has been a trustee of NewYork-Presbyterian since 2005. Och is CEO the Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, a hedge fund. He is worth more than $3 billion, according to Forbes Magazine.

GRANT LAND — The state received a trio of federal grants totaling $19 million for substance abuse treatment programs, per the governor's office.

COMING SOON — The New York State Health Foundation is sponsoring a symposium Nov. 13 organized by the Long Term Care Community Coalition to spotlight the first-in-a-generation changes to nursing home regulations issued by the Obama administration in the fall of 2016. More information is here.


ANTHEM STARTING ITS OWN PBM — The health insurance giant today announced it will start its own pharmacy benefit manager in partnership with CVS in 2020 after the end of its tumultuous relationship with its current PBM, Express Scripts. Read more here from MarketWatch.

VIVITROL COMPARABLE TO SUBOXONE — STAT News reports: "A once-a-month shot to treat opioid addiction was as effective in maintaining short-term abstinence from heroin and similar drugs as a more commonly prescribed daily treatment, according to a Norwegian study released Wednesday."

MDMA FOR PTSD — The Wall Street Journal reports: "As the director of addiction psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center, Stephen Ross spends most of his time helping people quit drugs. But early next year, he will begin administering MDMA in his 'dosing room,' a chamber in Dr. Ross's medical research lab that resembles a comfortable living room, with a gong on the wall and ceramic mushrooms decorating the shelves."


AMAZING STORY — ProPublica reports that eyedrops are intentionally made too big for our eyes so that the companies that make them can line their pocketbooks. Read the story here.

ABORTION MAY PROCEED — A federal judge in Washington on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to allow an undocumented pregnant minor at a federally funded Texas shelter to receive an abortion. More from POLITICO here.

... Trump administration appeals: The administration Thursday night appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The girl's initial appointment with an abortion provider, which under Texas law must occur at least 24 hours before the procedure takes place, is scheduled for Thursday morning.

ENROLLMENT PROBLEMS — The Wall Street Journal reports: "With enrollment for 2018 Affordable Care Act health-insurance plans starting in just two weeks, insurers are bracing for a drop-off among consumers put off by higher rates, confusion about the law's standing and a shorter window to choose coverage."

INDIVIDUAL MANDATE IS STILL IMPORTANT — The IRS will not accept electronically filed tax returns during the 2018 filing season from taxpayers who don't state whether they had health insurance as required by Obamacare, and the agency said it may "suspend" paper returns that lack the information. It will be the first time the IRS will reject returns that omit the information, despite President Donald Trump's executive order earlier this year that agencies lessen the burden of the Affordable Care Act.

PRECISION MEDICINE — The Associated Press reports: "Cancer patients increasingly are having their care guided by gene tumor boards, a new version of the hospital panels that traditionally decided whether surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy would be best."

COUNTERINTUITIVE — The Incidental Economist explains why a booming economy can lower life expectancy.

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the New York City health department: "Enjoy an apple with your coworkers [today] to help the Big Apple celebrate National Food Day!" More here.


SINS OF THE FATHER — Having an alcoholic parent increases the risk for dating violence among teenagers, according to a study from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions, published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

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