Category Albany & legislative action

Young Turks: Single-Payer Health Care Advances in New York

WNYT: 11-year-old girl lobbies for medical marijuana (w/ video)

June 19

ALBANY – Her name is Haley Hilt. She’s 11 years old — and she’s been suffering epileptic seizures since she was an infant.

“Haley is one of the medical marijuana success stories,” says Haley’s mother, Melissa.

When medical marijuana was legalized in New York four years ago, Melissa says her daughter’s seizures were reduced by 75 percent.

“Haley no longer has to suffer through three hours of car drives in order to get the medication she needs that has improved her quality of life significantly,” Melissa says.

Associated Press: NY Assembly OKs universal health care; bill halted in Senate

June 17

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The New York state Assembly has again endorsed a single-payer universal health care system.

The Democrat-led chamber passed the measure last week for the fourth year in a row.

Passage of the legislation is largely symbolic, however. The Republican-led Senate is not expected to take up the measure before lawmakers adjourn for the year next year.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says Democrats in his chamber believe all Americans deserve a health care system that guarantees coverage for all.

The proposal would allow all New Yorkers to enroll for health coverage that comes with no network restrictions, deductibles or co-pays. The system would use state and local funds that now go to Medicaid and other health care programs.

New Rochelle Patch: NY Assembly Passes Single-Payer Healthcare

By Michael Woyton, June 16

Albany has taken the first step toward giving New Yorkers a single-payer healthcare system. On Thursday, the state Assembly passed bill A4738, The New York Health Act would establish a program that would create a system of access to health insurance for New York residents.

The bill, which was sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, D-75th Assembly District, is now going to be considered by the Senate. The Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Gustavo Rivera, D-33rd Senate District, is currently being considered by the Senate Health Committee.

If it comes to the floor of the Senate, it’s a toss up whether it could pass because, even though the Democrats have a one-seat majority in the 63-seat body, one Democrat — Brooklyn Sen. Simcha Felder — caucuses with the Republicans.

Under the bill, according to a press release from Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Gottfried, every New York resident would be eligible to enroll, regardless of age, income, wealth or employment, in the healthcare plan.

Gotham Gazette: To Help New Yorkers Quit Opioids, Expand Access to Medical Marijuana Now

By Garry Croney, June 16

As a 67-year-old cancer survivor who suffers from chronic pain as a result of cancer treatments, medical marijuana has allowed me to resume a more normal life free of addictive opioid medications. I hope that lawmakers will now consider expanding the state’s medical marijuana program so that more New Yorkers will have the same access to these important treatments as an alternative to the powerful prescription painkillers that sparked the opioid crisis in our state.

My experience is all too typical of how so many people can easily find themselves reliant on prescription painkillers. Following my retirement from the U.S. Navy and a career in retail management, I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in December 2015 and underwent chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and abdominal perineal resection surgery the following year. As a result of these treatments, I developed debilitating peripheral neuropathy and chronic lower spine pain and was unable to function normally.

Video – Spectrum News: Will single-payer healthcare ever come to New York?

June 14 – Video here.

SPECTRUM NEWS VIDEO: The state assembly has again passed the bill to create a single-payer health care system in New York. And again, the Senate has no plans to vote on it. But in the time since Assemblyman Dick Gottfried first began sponsoring the measure, both the health insurance system and national opinion have changed a lot. He discusses where the issue stands now.

Queens Chronicle: A look at the fight for single-payer in New York

By Ryan Brady, June 14

With the Trump administration having taken steps to weaken Obamacare, New York activists have stepped up demands for the state to have a single-payer healthcare system.

In three of the past four years, New York’s lower chamber has passed a bill introduced by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) that would establish the system in the state. Twenty-seven of Albany’s 63 state senators — all of them Democrats — are also carrying the bill in their chamber.

The bill’s never been passed in the state Senate, which for all but a short time has been controlled by the GOP for decades. Its numbers are now split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, owing to one from the former camp going on naval duty.

Implementing Gottfried’s plan, the New York Health Act, would require waivers from the federal government.

Gov. Cuomo said last year that he would sign the bill if “it was not incongruous to what the federal government would do to us. I think it’s a very exciting possibility. But I think it’s going to be a federal play and we are, our funding system basically relies on Medicaid from the feds. And if they turn off that valve or slow that valve, there is no way we’re going to be able to make that up in this state no matter what.”

Chelsea Now – Do or Die: A Day in Albany Advocating for Statewide Healthcare

By Donathan Salkaln, June 13

UPDATE: On Thurs., June 14th, in Albany, NY, Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced the passage of a universal single-payer health plan that would provide comprehensive health coverage for all New Yorkers.

How bad has our health care system become? A 25-year-old man is sideswiped by a truck on a busy Downtown street. The ambulance brings him to an East Side emergency room. “Broken leg, shattered bone sticking out of skin,” recalled Dr. Danny Lugassy. “He’s pulling out IVs, and pushing away nurses. I ask him, ‘What are you doing?’ He begs me, ‘Please do the bare minimum possible. I just started a job, but my health care won’t start until next month!’ ”

On June 5, two buses loaded with advocates of single-payer healthcare, mostly from Chelsea, Hells Kitchen, and Greenwich Village, left W. 33rd St. near Penn Station and headed to the state capitol to rally and lobby with others for single-payer healthcare. The event was organized by the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) in tandem with the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), 1199 SEIU, and over 100 labor and community organizations in the Campaign for New York Health. The day included pre-arranged individual office meetings with state senators, to voice healthcare concerns.

“Nearly every day, patients tell me they can’t afford the care that I
want to give them,” said Dr. Danny Lugassy, board member, Physicians for a National Health Program — NY Metro Chapter. | Photo by Donathan Salkaln

City and State: The other argument for recreational pot

By Rebecca Lewis, June 3

The push to legalize marijuana for recreational use is gaining momentum in New York. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon is pushing for it, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signaled that he is open to it and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has concluded that it is inevitable.

Much of this drive appears to come from a social justice campaign to end racial disparities in arrests for marijuana offenses. Nixon made that clear in her campaign video. De Blasio’s new position, which included a demand that the NYPD stop making arrests for smoking marijuana in public, came after reports of enforcement disproportionately affecting black and Latino residents.

But changes could remove or ease restrictions on medical marijuana in New York and might even help to curb the state’s opioid epidemic.

New York has a medical marijuana program, but it is more restrictive than in other states. For instance, a person must be diagnosed with a qualifying condition. While that list was recently expanded to include post-traumatic stress disorder, a patient must still have a “severe, debilitating or life-threatening” condition, which leaves out many others who may benefit from medical marijuana.

El Diario: Vientres de alquiler al banquillo en Nueva York

By Pedro Frisneda, May 24

Las leyes que rigen los “contratos de madres sustitutas”, conocidos más popularmente como “vientres de alquiler”, son muy antiguas, estrictas y punitivas en el estado de Nueva York.

Por esta razón, miembros de los comités de Salud y Judicial de la Asamblea estatal de Nueva York realizaron una audiencia pública este jueves para analizar estas leyes que datan de casi 30 años atrás.

En 1992, el estado de Nueva York aprobó el Artículo 8 (Secciones 121-124) de la Ley de Relaciones Domésticas, que establece que los “contratos de crianza sustituta” con compensación (pago a la mujer que queda embarazada) son contrarios a la política pública de este estado, y son nulos e inaplicables.

Este artículo fue promulgado luego de un caso judicial muy publicitado y polémico en Nueva Jersey, conocido como “Baby M”, el cual involucró a una mujer casada que firmó un contrato por $10,000 con una pareja casada por el que aceptó quedar embarazada a través de inseminación artificial. El acuerdo estipulaba que, luego de nacer el niño, ella renunciar al mismo para entregarlo a la pareja. Sin embargo, después del nacimiento, la mujer se negó a renunciar al bebé.

Aunque originalmente un tribunal de primera instancia de Nueva Jersey decretó que la mujer cumpliera con lo exigido en el contrato de subrogación, una apelación ante el Tribunal Supremo del Estado Jardín declaró “inaplicable” el contrato frente a la política pública de ese estado.

Por antecedentes como éste, los participantes en la audiencia pública, encabezada por los asambleístas Jeffrey Dinowitz y Richard Gottfried, examinaron las formas en que la práctica de la maternidad subrogada o vientre de alquiler ha cambiado desde la aprobación de la prohibición estatal de los contratos de subrogación compensados en 1992.