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POLITICO New York Health Care: What's in de Blasio's budget? -- Schneiderman sues Insys -- GOP drops ACA repeal in 2018

By Nick Niedzwiadek | 02/02/2018 09:58 AM EDT

BUDGET BONANZA — Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposed budget provides New York City Health + Hospitals with $905 million in city funding, up roughly 18 percent from a year ago. The increased commitment reflects the growing deficits facing the nation's largest public hospital system, which has a projected $2 billion budget gap. Though NYC Health + Hospitals has reported better financial numbers of late, the system is now contending with a $300 million loss in Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital funding thanks to cuts that are part of the Affordable Care Act. The proposed city budget is $88.67 billion and can be read here.

... De Blasio is proposing to spend $772 million on the city health department in the coming year, up almost $90 million from the mayor's proposed budget last year. The health department receives an additional $1 billion more from the state and federal government. The mayor is proposing to significantly increase funding for the Unity Project, which offers services to LGBTQ youth to prevent them from using drugs and alcohol. The neighborhood rat reduction plan is slated to receive about $500,000 less in this year's budget. This follows a citywide campaign announced in July that targets the three most infested parts of city. The health department used the current fiscal year's funding for additional BigBelly compactors, a rat stoppage team, and outreach campaigns.

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MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOW Dan on Twitter @DanCGoldberg and Nick @NickNiedz. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @katiedjennings.

MEDICAID REFORM HITS TARGETS — Midway through one of the nation's most-ambitious Medicaid reform efforts, New York providers are hitting their goals, at least for the most part. Even as some performing provider systems outpace others, the state is capturing the vast majority of eligible federal dollars and reducing unnecessary medical costs. Preventable emergency room visits are down 12 percent, according to the Department of Health. Potentially preventable readmissions are down 15 percent, the department said in November.The 25 performing provider systems charged with implementing the state's Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment, or DSRIP, program have drawn down 96 percent of the federal money they have so far been eligible to achieve, a more than $3 billion haul that has been spread across the state. Dan has more here.

OPEN ENROLLMENT STATS — More than 253,000 New Yorkers signed up for a private health insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act during the last three months, easily surpassing last year's total despite assertions from President Donald Trump that the law was doomed to fail. In total, more than 4.3 million New Yorkers enrolled in an insurance plan through NY State of Health, the state-based exchange, during Obamacare's fifth open enrollment season. Of those, 2,965,863 enrolled in a Medicaid plan and 738,851 enrolled in the Essential Plan, which provides low-cost or no-cost health insurance to those earning less than twice the federal poverty level but do not qualify for Medicaid. Another 374,577 enrolled in Child Health Plus. Despite premiums increasing an average of 14.6 percent, 41 percent of customers purchased a qualified health plan without any financial assistance. Roughly 24,000 people signed up for coverage between Dec. 15, when the federal government ended open enrollment for those shopping on and Jan. 31, when New York's site closed, according to the Department of Health.

NOW WE KNOW — It pays dividends to fight the good fight and swat away at mosquitoes. A study published in Current Biology found that after a period of about 15 minutes of swatting, mosquitoes will begin to associate vibrations from near misses with certain scents and be less likely to return later to try and bite whatever is associated with that scent, for at least 24 hours.

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SENATE GOP VS CUOMO — Senate Republicans have introduced a bill taking aim at Gov. Andrew Cuomo's health care budget proposal to recoup some of the money for-profit insurers receive as a result of the federal tax cut. Cuomo's executive budget would establish a 14-percent "windfall" surcharge on money generated for insurers as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The state would receive approximately $140 million from that surcharge, which Cuomo plans on using to fund a $1 billion pool that would go to mitigating potential cuts in federal health care funding. The windfall charge is one portion of the $1.1 billion in revenue raisers included as part of the governor's plan to close the state's $4.4 billion budget deficit. Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) last week introduced NY S7587 (17R), which would require insurers to return any newfound money that directly results from the tax cut back to consumers in the form of rate reductions, refunds or credits toward future insurance. Hannon said his proposal is a better use of the economic benefits of the tax cut because it directs money back to consumers. More from me here.

COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER CLOCK — It's been 126 days since Congress failed to reauthorize funding for community health centers.

MED MAR DEAL — iAnthus Capital Holdings announced Thursday that it had finalized its purchase of Citiva Medical, one of the five new entrants to the state's medical marijuana program.

— Citiva plans to open dispensaries in Brooklyn and Staten Island in the fourth quarter of 2018, and in Dutchess and Chemung counties during the second quarter of 2019. It plans on opening its manufacturing facility in Orange County around the same time as the second set of dispensaries, meaning it will have to stock the New York City sites with others' products in the interim. Read more here.

MENTAL HEALTH SUIT — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement acted negligently by discharging a detained immigrant with severe mental illness without a plan to ensure his continued medical care, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in federal court. Read the complaint here.

NUMC — Newsday reports: "Nassau County Executive Laura Curran was expected to appoint George Tsunis, a former member of her transition team and a onetime nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Norway, as the new chairman of Nassau University Medical Center, according to a draft statement from Curran's office."

... Tsunis' confirmation hearing in 2012 turned into an embarrassment for the Obama administration when it became apparent that their nominee knew very little about Norway.

RIT DISCRIMINATED — The state Division of Human Rights found the Rochester Institute of Technology likely discriminated against Dr. Kontor when it fired her for "gross insubordination" because she would not stop administering hormone therapy to transgender students. Read more here.

DOWN THE PIPE — Howard Zemsky, the state's economic development czar, said at a recent budget hearing the Department of Health will issue a report in the coming months about possible locations in the Capital Region for a new $600 million Wadsworth public health lab. Read more here.

GRANT LAND — Gov Andrew Cuomo's office announced Thursday $37.7 million in awards to improve access to breast cancer screenings. The list of awardees can be found here.

MAKING ROUNDS — Albert Einstein College of Medicine students honored Dr. Selwyn, chair of family and social medicine, Thursday night at the Einstein Community Health Organization, the medical school's student-coordinated, free clinic in the Bronx.


SCHNEIDERMAN SUES INSYS — State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit Thursday against drugmaker Insys Therapeutics seeking $75 million for improperly marketing the fentanyl-based drug Subsys. Read more here.

MEDICARE OPIOID CRACKDOWN — Medicare Part D plans will have to place new restrictions on opioid prescribing in 2019 as part of CMS' efforts to address overuse of the powerful and addictive class of pain medications.

LOBBYISTS IN THE STATES — Kaiser Health News writes about pharma lobbyists now focusing on state lawmakers.


RIP REPEAL AND REPLACE: 2010-2017 — Republicans are giving up on their years-long dream of repealing Obamacare. Though the GOP still controls both chambers of Congress and maintains the ability to jam through a repeal-and-replace bill via a simple majority, there are no discussions of doing so here at House and Senate Republicans' joint retreat at The Greenbrier resort. Republicans doubt they can even pass a budget providing for the powerful party-line "reconciliation" procedure used to pass tax reform last year, much less take on the politically perilous task of rewriting health care laws in an election year. More from our D.C. colleagues here.

JOURNALISM GETTING RESULTS — "American Red Cross General Counsel David Meltzer has resigned after a ProPublica story detailed troubling aspects of how he handled a sexual misconduct case involving another senior official at the charity." Read the story here.

CIGNA WILL INVEST PORTION OF TAX SAVINGS IN EMPLOYEE COMPENSATION — Cigna says it is hiking the minimum wage for its workers to $16 an hour and adding $30 million to retirement accounts as a result of the Republican tax cut package, H.R. 1 (115). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell touted the announcement as evidence that the legislation is boosting American workers.

BAD LUCK — Axios pointed us to this story about a New York man who won $1 million playing scratch-off lottery. He was going to use most of the money for retirement. A self-employed carpenter, he couldn't afford health insurance so he had been putting off a visit to the doctor even though he hadn't been feeling well. When he finally went, he learned he had stage IV brain cancer. He was dead 23 days after winning the lottery.

CREATIVE FLU RESPONSES — "NYC Health & Hospitals has seen a 40 percent increase in the number of people being tested for the flu compared with this time last year, according to Sean Studer, deputy chief medical officer of the group, which runs New York City's public hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities," according to The Wall Street Journal. "To cope with greater traffic to the emergency department, hospitals in the network are opening up so-called 'flex' spaces that aren't usually needed for routine care."

— The number of confirmed flu cases reached 11,683, according to data released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office Thursday. More than 2,200 of those cases needed hospitalization.

TOO MUCH MEDICINE — ProPublica and NPR report that unnecessary medical care is more common than you think.

AFTER EFFECTS OF CHEMO AND RADIATION — The Associated Press reports: "The American Heart Association issued a stark warning Thursday for women with breast cancer: Life saving therapies like chemotherapy and radiation can cause heart failure and other serious cardiac problems, sometimes years after treatment."

TODAY'S TIP — Comes from New York-Presbyterian, which offers some tips for dealing with the flu.


POOR DIET = BAD BACK — Mount Sinai researchers have found a possible link between a poor diet and back injuries, especially in women, according to an article in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. More here.

MACHINE LEARNING — Researchers from Mount Sinai used machine learning and algorithms to teach computer software how to understand language related to radiology reports, according to the Journal Radiology. Watch it here.

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