On Saturday, Governor Cuomo signed legislation making New York the 23rd state to allow medical use of marijuana under medical supervision. Below is a sample of the press coverage, and here’s an interview I did this morning on News Radio 77 WABC with Rita Cosby:
“The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision is shameful. Your employer should have no say in your health care decisions, especially about reproductive care. Your pay check and your employment benefits are yours. The decision seems to be based on statutory interpretation, not a constitutional claim. So New York State’s long-standing law protecting insurance coverage for contraception is hopefully in good shape. BTW, if NY enacted my single-payer New York Health bill, only you and your health care provider would make health care decisions – not your insurance company, not your boss.”
On Tuesday, June 24, I participated in a panel on the future of healthcare in New York sponsored by City & State. I joined experts including representatives from hospitals, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Nurses Association for a wide-ranging discussion including Medicaid reform, hospital funding, medical marijuana, and single-payer healthcare.
The Assembly and Senate have passed legislation allowing patients suffering from severe debilitating or life-threatening conditions to be treated with marijuana under medical supervision. The bill is sponsored by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Senator Diane Savino and is based largely on their Compassionate Care Act bill, with amendments in response to concerns raised by the Governor.
“This is a major victory for patients,” said Assembly Member Gottfried, who has been sponsoring medical marijuana legislation since 1997. “If the patient and physician agree that a severe debilitating or life-threatening condition should be treated with medical marijuana, it is cruel for government to stand in the way. We’ve incorporated many of the Governor’s requirements to gain his support.”
Senator Diane Savino said, “Today marks an historic victory for thousands of New Yorkers who will no longer have to suffer needlessly during their courageous medical battles. Under this bill, New Yorkers will now have the same access to life-changing treatment options that others around the country have had. Today we celebrate this victory with the countless patients, families, advocates, health care professionals and physicians who have all fought passionately for the safe and reliable use of medical marijuana as part of a comprehensive course of treatment for disease and illness.”
Family of Cynthia Wachenheim, Medical Professionals, and Advocates Look Forward to Creation of Screening, Education, and Referral Programs
Albany, NY – New York State Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried and State Senator Liz Krueger today announced the unanimous passage of legislation in both the Senate and Assembly that would provide education and promote screening and treatment-referrals for postpartum depression and other maternal depression disorders (S.7234B/A.9610B). Despite the widespread nature and severity of maternal depression, our healthcare system has had no system-wide screening and referral procedure.
Albany, NY — The New York Assembly and Senate passed legislation sponsored by Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried and Senator Brad Hoylman (A9937/S7709) authorizing the New York City Council to renew the property tax exemption for the 2,820 unit middle-income Penn South co-op in the Chelsea neighborhood, provided it maintains its status as affordable housing.
Assembly Member Gottfried and Senator Hoylman worked closely with the de Blasio administration to enable the extension of Penn South’s tax exemption, which is crucial to its continued affordability. With City Council approval, the tax exemption would continue for another 50 years.
Key legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo have reached an agreement on legislation – which will be submitted as a Governor’s program bill – allowing patients suffering from severe debilitating or life-threatening conditions to be treated with marijuana under medical supervision. The bill is based largely on the Compassionate Care Act, legislation sponsored by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Senator Diane Savino, with amendments in response to concerns raised by the Governor.
“This is a tremendous victory for patients,” said Assembly Member Gottfried, who has been sponsoring medical marijuana legislation since 1997. “If the patient and physician agree that a severe debilitating or life-threatening condition should be treated with medical marijuana, it is cruel for government to stand in the way. We’ve incorporated many of the Governor’s requirements to gain his support. This comprehensive, tightly-regulated legislation will bring relief to thousands of New Yorkers.
It is expected to pass the Assembly – where previous versions of the bill have passed several times with strong bi-partisan support – and the Senate in the next few hours. Polls have repeatedly shown overwhelming support for medical marijuana, including 83% statewide and 74% among Republicans in a recent Quinnipiac poll.
The Compassionate Care Act, legislation allowing patients suffering from severe debilitating or life-threatening conditions to be treated with marijuana under medical supervision, was amended last night.
“It would be a public health disaster and continue the havoc in the lives of patients if this bill doesn’t become law this year,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried, sponsor of the bill. “We’ve incorporated as many of the Governor’s suggestions as possible. Some of his other concerns were already addressed by the bill. I believe we now have a bill that will pass both Houses and that the Governor will sign. This legislation is comprehensive, tightly-regulated, and will bring relief to thousands of New Yorkers suffering from severe, debilitating or life-threatening conditions.”
A discussion convened by several Assembly committees about insurance coverage for addiction treatment heated up Monday when a participant pulled out her son’s ashes.
“This is what happens in the interim of fighting for the benefit I pay for monthly,” Linda Ventura of Long Island said, referencing her inability to convince her insurance carrier to cover treatment for her son before he died of a heroin overdose two years ago at age 21.
She held up a Rubbermaid container filled with ashes for the couple of dozen participants assembled around a long table to see and demanded that Paul Macielak, president of the New York State Health Plan Association, an insurance industry group, look her in the eye as she spoke. Ventura bristled when Macielak raised a thorny question about whether insurance companies or the state will be required to pay for all physician-prescribed treatments, as is being considered under a legislative proposal.
The bill to protect transgender people under the State Human Rights Law was approved by the Assembly today. The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA, A4226B/S195B) will now be referred to the State Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee.
I represent Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown, and parts of Murray Hill and the Lincoln Center area in the State Assembly. I have been chair of the Assembly Health Committee since 1987. During off hours, I like to write Chinese calligraphy.