By Dan Goldberg | 05/17/2017 09:56 AM EDT
SINGLE PAYER BILL PASSES ASSEMBLY — The Democrat-controlled Assembly passed a single-payer health care bill for the third consecutive year, a largely symbolic move as the Republican State Senate is unlikely to take up the legislation. Still, the victory emboldened progressives who have been more ferocious this year, following the election of President Donald Trump and the Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. The bill passed by a vote of 87-38. Read more here.
SOME SPECIFICS — The proposal would be funded in part through a progressive income tax and payroll assessment that would raise $91 billion, according to the sponsor Assemblyman Richard Gottfried.
... A reason to be skeptical — The bill's implementation would require a federal waiver allowing the state to use all Medicaid and Medicare money to pay for a single-payer health program. There are those who feel the Trump administration has libertarian leanings enough to let this happen, but it seems hard to believe that President Donald Trump would sanction government-run health care for all in his home state.
... Mayor Bill de Blasio said: "While the fight to save the Affordable Care Act is far from over, the State Assembly has taken a major step forward today to protect the health of working families across New York - including the more than 1 million people who stand to lose coverage. The New York Health Plan will ensure that every resident has access to health care, and that the City's public hospital system is able to continue to deliver quality care to the New Yorkers who need it most."
MENTAL HEALTH BEDS — The state will create 280 community-based supportive housing units for New Yorkers with mental health problems, a move that advocates say is long overdue but far from enough to satisfy years of broken promises. The units, which offer residents affordable housing and on-site access to health care so they can stay in their communities, are the product of a years-long fight to move mental health patients out of state-run residential facilities and into less-restrictive settings. The state's Office of Mental Health will reconfigure 140 state-operated residential beds and turn them into supportive housing units. Read more from Josefa here.
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NOW WE KNOW — Disney researchers say they can now track an actor's movements and facial expressions during live performances so well that their faces can be painted with light instead of makeup. Don't believe me? Take 4 minutes and watch this video. It will blow your mind.
COLLINS COULD BE IN TROUBLE — U.S. Rep. Chris Collins is under scrutiny by ethics investigators for his role in soliciting investors for an Australian biotech company, according to a news report. The Buffalo News reported on Tuesday that investigators from the Office of Congressional Ethics — the independent ethics watchdog — are speaking to Buffalo-area investors in the company, Innate Immunotherapeutics, over Collins' role in finding investors.
FINANCES — Oscar Insurance is reporting a $21 million loss in New York through the first three months of 2017. That's a bit better than the $39 million loss the company reported during the first three months of 2016, but the bottom line only tells part of the story. Oscar increased its prices and narrowed its network in New York late last year. Not surprisingly, fewer people enrolled and premium revenue declined in 2017 to $37.2 million from $64.2 million during the same period in 2016, according to the company's most recent financial filings. So while the company is losing less money, it's also making less money.
... In Texas, the company reported losses of $1.9 million for the first quarter, compared to $3.7 million a year earlier. Oscar had 33,172 customers, up from 28,812 last year.
MORE FINANCES — CareConnect, the insurance company started by Northwell Health, reported a $23.6 million underwriting loss during the first three months of 2017. That's up from a $5 million underwriting loss during the same period in 2016, according to the company's most recent filings. Revenue, though, is up more than 30 percent to $138 million, in part due to higher premiums. Membership increased to more than 117,000, up from 112,000 at the end of 2016. More than 86,000 of those members are in the small group market. The company has been hit particularly hard by the Affordable Care Act's risk adjustment program, paying $29 million this quarter. Risk adjustment seeks to move money from insurers that cared for a healthier population to the ones that cared for a less-healthy population. The program was designed to dissuade insurers from recruiting only healthy people and avoiding those with chronic medical conditions. The problem, according to many insurance companies, is that the formula is flawed "CareConnect had another strong performance during our most recent open enrollment period, and as was true last year, our losses were driven by the flawed federal risk adjustment program," said Lisa Davis, a spokeswoman.
DATA BREACH — Crain's reports: "A volunteer at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island gained unauthorized access to the protected health information of nearly 3,500 patients, the hospital told the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week. The volunteer in Coney Island's phlebotomy department entered patient names in a logbook, cleaned up data storage areas and transported specimens within the hospital—without being vetted beforehand by Coney Island's human resources department, hospital chief executive Anthony Rajkumar wrote in a sample letter to affected patients."
C-SECTION RATES — The Syracuse Post-Standard reports: "Crouse Hospital has the lowest cesarean section rate for low-risk deliveries of any big U.S. hospital, according to an investigation by Consumer Reports."
MAKING ROUNDS — Here's one from the American Medical Association, about how Gouverneur Health teamed up with a local design school to figure out how they could maximize the space for physicians, nurses, staff and patients.
GRANT LAND — God's Love We Deliver received a $200,000 grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The money will be used to study the impact of medically-tailored home delivered meals to New Yorkers living with terminal illnesses.
PHARMA REPORT — PRICE'S PRICE — Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price pressed Congress to heed President Donald Trump's call to make the Food and Drug Administration rely more on industry fees — and less on taxpayer dollars — for product evaluations, as lawmakers continue work on extending the agency's user fee programs, in a letter to Senate HELP ranking Democrat Patty Murray.
WHAT WE'RE READING:
OBAMACARE LATEST — Bipartisan talks to repair Obamacare are gaining traction among a group of Senate moderates, threatening to disrupt strategies from both parties' leaders to keep members in line. Read more from my D.C. colleagues here.
PAY ATTENTION — Yemen is having a cholera crisis, NPR reports. Here is how bad it is getting: "We saw up to four people in one single hospital bed. Patients waiting in the garden outside. I even saw one man was sitting in his car with an IV drip attached to his window because there was no place in the hospital."
STANDING STILL — The uninsured rate in the United States remained flat, following five consecutive years of decline, the Associated Press reports.
TODAY'S TIP — Comes from the Cleveland Clinic, which offers us the "three best ways to prevent crepey, thin skin as you age."
MIGHTY MOLECULE — Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine, writing in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, explain how a compound inhibits the growth of a rare blood cancer found in people with HIV-AIDS.
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