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Spectrum News – Health Chairs to Lawmakers: Don’t Alter Bail Law

The top lawmakers on the Assembly and state Senate health committees, in a letter Tuesday, urged against making changes to the state’s bail law, which ended cash bail requirements for misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses.

In the letter, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Sen. Gustavo Rivera warned that making changes could lead to more people in jails, creating an increase risk for people to contract the coronavirus.

NY Post: Cuomo panel recommends $400M in hospital cuts as coronavirus pandemic rages

It’s unclear whether the Legislature or even the governor, who must approve the changes as part of the state budget, have the stomach to cut spending to medical facilities grappling with an expected wave of COVID-19 patients and a potential health catastrophe, as well as rolling back Medicaid services to patients.

“It’s never a good time to cut health care, especially when the only rationale is to fit into an artificial limit. It’s even more wrong in the midst of a growing epidemic,” said Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan).

Legislative Gazette – Health Committee chairs: Now is the time to keep people out of jails

“Everyone is pointing out that jails and prisons are a hotbed of spreading contagion,” said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, chair of the Health Committee. “Our bail reform has [kept] more people out of that pot of bumbling contagion.“Coming in and out and infecting other inmates, infecting personnel, and when they come out, infecting their neighbors,” Gottfried said.

Gottfried and Senate Health Chair Gustavo Rivera sent a letter to every fellow lawmaker on Tuesday denouncing efforts to rollback bail reform during a health emergency.

January-February Health Committee Update

The Assembly Health Committee favorably reported 31 bills at its January and February meetings.  The Committee reported bills to extend Medicaid coverage for new mothers; reform the distribution of indigent care pool funds for hospitals serving low-income patients; create an emerging contaminants monitoring list in order to ensure that all water systems in New York are tested for potentially dangerous chemicals, lower lead levels in school water, and provide insurance coverage for medical marijuana.

Evening Observer: Assembly approves bill to aid blood drives

“This bill would create a program of grants to help community groups and schools run blood drives,” Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, D-New York City and legislation sponsor wrote in his legislative justification. “When community organizations or schools conduct blood drives, the blood bank generally pays for the cost of the blood collection itself. But the blood banks do not pay for promotional activities such as mailings to an organization’s members, or the cost of the space if this cost exists.”

Press release: Protecting Maternal Health

(Albany, NY) State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, advocates, and health care provider associations gathered today to call on the Legislature to pass the “Beyond the Fourth Trimester” bill, S.7147-A/A.9156 which would extend postpartum coverage for mothers from 60 days to one year after giving birth. The bill recently passed both houses’ Health Committees and has the support of physicians, midwives, hospitals, and advocates for improving reproductive health and reducing health care racial disparities.

Gothamist: New Bill Would Prevent NY Patients From Getting Stuck With Hidden ‘Facility Fees’

A new bill in Albany known as the Patient Medical Debt Protection Act (A. 8639/S. 6757) would prohibit New York hospitals from sticking patients with these extra charges. Facility fees would be banned altogether for preventive care and insurers would be required to negotiate with hospitals over any remaining facility fees, so they don’t fall on the shoulders of patients like Ryan.

This restriction on facility fees is among the most ambitious pieces of the legislation, which, incidentally, seeks to address several of the issues patients have brought to the attention of Gothamist, WNYC, and ClearHealthCosts in recent months through our joint health care cost transparency project, #PriceCheckNYC.

Daily News: ‘Nothing more than political theater’: Lawmakers raise doubts about Cuomo’s $6 billion Medicaid budget gap

ALBANY — Skeptical lawmakers skewered state health officials Wednesday as they sought details on Gov. Cuomo’s plan to tackle New York’s projected $6 billion Medicaid-induced budget deficit.

“It is a little bit concerning, scratch that, a lot, very concerning that you are coming to a public hearing on Jan. 29 and you’re telling us that by April 1 we have to just accept something that’s put together by a magical crew of folks,” Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx), the chairman of his chamber’s health committee, said as he peppered state Health Department commissioner Howard Zucker and state Medicaid Director Donna Frescatore with questions about the proposal.

WSKG: Tensions Surface At Hearing On Proposed Cuts In Medicaid

ALBANY, NY (WSKG) – A lack of information on how Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to cut billions out of state-funded health care programs led to some tense moments at a legislative budget hearing Wednesday.

Cuomo, in his budget address, said he will convene a commission to decide how to cut $2.5 billion in Medicaid spending to help close a $6 billion budget gap without harming recipients.

But that commission, known as the Medicaid Redesign Team, won’t report back until sometime in March, potentially just weeks or even days before the state budget is due, leaving the Legislature little time to analyze the proposals.

On Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day, Assembly Passes Bills to Improve the Lives of NYers with Disabilities

(January 29, 2020) Today, as Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day is observed in the State Capitol, the New York State Assembly passed a package of bills aimed at improving the lives of New Yorkers with disabilities. “On Legislative Disabilities Awareness Day, I join with my Assembly colleagues from both parties to recognize the significant achievements of New Yorkers with disabilities and to help them address the challenges they face,” said Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried (D/WFP-Manhattan), Chair of the Assembly Health Committee. Legislation passed by the Assembly today included the following bills: