NY Times Letter to the Editor: Coping with High Deductibles

Letters to the Editor, re: Unable to Meet the Deductible or the DoctorNY Times, October 29:

We face high deductibles, rising premiums, co-payments, narrow networks and out-of-network charges because insurance companies — focused mainly on their bottom line — control most health coverage. As your article shows, deductibles are a real obstacle to medically necessary care. The notion that they prevent “unnecessary” care is a myth.

It’s not just plans under the Affordable Care Act. Employers are also shifting more costs to employees, or dropping coverage entirely.

The answer is universal “single payer” health coverage, without deductibles, co-payments or limited networks. Health care dollars would pay for health care, not insurance company overhead and profits. Progressive states like New York should lead the way.

RICHARD N. GOTTFRIED
New York, Oct. 18, 2014

The writer is chairman of the New York State Assembly’s Committee on Health and sponsor of a bill to establish a single-payer system in New York State.

Capital NY: The Urgent-Care Boom

By Dan Goldberg, Capital New York, October 29

The new urgent care center on Broadway between 102nd and 103rd doesn’t look like a doctor’s office and definitely doesn’t look like a hospital.

With its open floor plan, plush chairs and oddly placed modern art, it looks like a upmarket lobby, in part because the designer has a background in hotels.

The waiting room at Cure Urgent Care is meant to provide a sense of calm, as is the logo out front—a green medical cross with a smile underneath.

Citizens Union Endorsement

I’m proud to be endorsed by Citizens Union!  Below is a clip from their 2014 general election endorsements, and here are links to the full press release and my candidate questionnaire:

“Citizens Union Chair Peter Sherwin and Executive Director Dick Dadey today announce Citizens Union’s candidate endorsements in 12 races for the November 4th General Election, and its support for two of the three ballot proposals…

…Citizens Union also endorses incumbents James Brennan (AD 44) and Richard Gottfried (AD 75), who continue to be diligent and thoughtful stewards of reform, and models of elected officials serving the public with integrity and wisdom…”

Assembly to Hold 6 Public Hearings on Single Payer Healthcare

ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE ON HEALTH
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARINGS

SUBJECT:  “New York Health” bill to create state single payer health coverage

PURPOSE: Receive testimony concerning the “New York Health” bill

BUFFALO                                 ROCHESTER
Wednesday, Nov. 12,10AM      Thursday, Nov. 13, 10AM
Roswell Park Cancer Institute   Rochester Regional Joint Board
Hohn Auditorium                       1st Floor Union Hall
Research Studies Center         750 East Avenue
Elm & Carlton Street

SYRACUSE                         MINEOLA
Thursday, Dec.4, 10 AM      Monday, December 8, 10 AM
Medical Alumni Auditorium   Nassau County Legislative Chambers
Weiskotten Hall                    Theodore Roosevelt Exec&Leg. Bldng
Upstate Medical University   1550 Franklin Avenue
766 Irving Avenue

NEW YORK CITY                           ALBANY
Tuesday, Dec. 16,10 AM               Tuesday, January 13, 10 AM
New York University                       Hearing Room B
Grand Hall, 5th Floor                     Legislative Office Building
Global Center for Academic & Spiritual Life
238 Thompson Street

Legislative Gazette: 72% of Airbnb rentals in NYC are illegal, AG says

By Jessica Piccinni, October 17

A report released by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last Thursday revealed widespread illegal activity from the online hotel company Aribnb.

The report, titled “Airbnb in the City,” analyzed bookings of short-term rentals in New York City between Jan. 1, 2010 and Jun. 2, 2014, and found that 72 percent of those transactions violated New York zoning laws.

As a result of the findings, Schneiderman announced a new joint initiative between the AG’s Internet and Taxpayer Protection Bureaus and the city of New York to investigate and eradicate illegal hotel activity in the five boroughs.

Times-Union: State, Jail Health Care Providers Settle for $200,000

By James Odato, September 24

A corporate health care provider used by three Capital Region county jails entered into an agreement with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that requires it to pay $200,000 in restitution and penalties and submit to monitoring in 13 upstate counties.

According to terms obtained by the Times Union, the settlement between the attorney general and Correctional Medical Care resolves claims of dangerous practices as well as unsatisfactory and unqualified staffing that arose after six deaths of inmates in CMC’s care at five county lockups from 2009 to 2011. A probe found serious deficiencies that included unlicensed and inexperienced staff, understaffing, lack of medical oversight and failure to adhere to medical and administrative protocols.

People’s Climate March

I participated in the historic People’s Climate March in Manhattan on Sunday, September 21, 2014.  An estimated 300,000 participants made history by taking part in the largest climate march ever held. With President Obama and other world leaders meeting at the U.N. summit on climate change in New York the following week, we took to the streets to demand action to action to preserve the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It was a day to show the world the people power of the international movement to promote policies to keep fossil fuels in the ground, create meaningful “green” jobs, and put our communities back to work building the infrastructure we really need to address the climate crisis.

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With Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez of New York, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

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The People’s Climate March was the largest pro-environment demonstration in history, with its estimated 300,000 participants far exceeding a previous climate march held in Oslo, Norway, that numbered 100,000 participants.

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With NYS Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, and Jo Anne Simon, Democratic nominee for Assembly in Brooklyn’s 52nd District.

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Interview with reporter before the start of the People’s Climate March.

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With NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman before the start of the People’s Climate March.

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With NYC Public Advocate Tish James before the start of the People’s Climate March.

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With U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez of New York, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and Manhattan Borough President in the People’s Climate March.

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With NYS Senator Liz Krueger, NYS Assembly Member Deborah Glick, and State Senator Brad Hoylman before the People’s Climate March.

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Signing up for a “climate ribbon” on Central Park West before the start of the People’s Climate March.

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The participants in the historic People’s Climate March stretched down Central Park West for as far as the eye could see. More than 300,000 people are estimated to have participated in the largest environmental demonstration in history.

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The Villager: Dozens of Pols Join Coalition, Look to Burst Airbnb’s Balloon

By Zach Williams, September 18, 2014

Elected officials last week announced a new coalition to promote affordable housing and put Airbnb under increased scrutiny.

They said at a Sept. 12 City Hall steps press conference that Airbnb promotes illegal hotels and enables unscrupulous building owners to flout a 2010 law banning apartment sublets of less than 30 days. The new organization, Share Better, will also advertise extensively to counter Airbnb’s own recent ad blitz. The San Francisco-based “home-sharing” company meanwhile denied wrongdoing and dismissed the new organization as beholden to city hotel interests.

The new group did not specify how many affordable housing units have been lost due to Airbnb’s activities. Councilmember Corey Johnson said, though, that action must be taken to protect the city’s remaining rent-regulated units.

“We all are in favor of the share economy, but what about the fair economy?” he said. “It’s got to be fair to rent-stabilized tenants. Rent-stabilized tenants are becoming an endangered species and if we don’t step up as elected officials — as advocates — we are going to lose them.”

Assemblymember Dick Gottfried — who co-sponsored the 2010 law with state Senator Liz Krueger, who was also at the event — said Airbnb ads present an image far from the reality of its roughly 20,000 New York City listings.

NY Post: Lawmaker Targets Pharmacy That Fleeced 9/11 Responders

By Susan Edelman, September 14

A bill aimed at stopping an Upper East Side pharmacy from fleecing 9/11 responders by charging them $150 for a simple printout of records is in the works.

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, chairman of the health committee, will introduce an amendment to “close a gap in state law” that requires medical facilities to provide copies of medical records at minimal copying cost, but does not mention pharmacies.

Gottfried announced a measure to include drugstores after The Post reported that Madison Avenue Pharmacy was demanding $150 for a couple of pages of prescription records.

“No one should have to pay anything like $150,”Gottfried said.

The pharmacy backed down, saying “Our policy going forward will be to process all Victim Compensation Fund claims free of charge.”

New York Observer: With Fast Food Strikes, Some See Momentum for Minimum Wage Hike

By Jillian Jorgensen, New York Observer, September 3, 2014

Eyes nationwide will be on fast food workers tomorrow as they strike in search of a $15-an-hour wage. But in the state’s capital, many are hoping that ongoing movement will translate into the city’s ability to set its own higher minimum wage — even if it’s not as much as $15 an hour.

“Momentum is building in New York and around the country. I think the fast food workers are really are a powerful example of the unconscionable low wages that many very hard-working New Yorkers are subject to,” Assemblyman Richard Gottfried told the Observer. “And people are coming to understand that this is not about teenagers getting jobs after school — these are adults who are in many cases supporting or trying to support families, and the employers are not the mom-and-pop candy stores, these are multi-billion dollar international corporations.”