Tag health care

Joint Press Release: Gov. Cuomo Vetoes Bill to Regulate Pharmacy Benefit Managers and Protect Consumers

Bill would have added accountability, increased fiscal disclosure, and addressed deceptive and anti-competitive practices

(December 26, 2019) Governor Cuomo this evening vetoed legislation to increase oversight, transparency, and accountability of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).  PBMs are companies that manage prescription drug benefits for health plans.  Their negotiations, discounts, and rebate structures are highly secretive and PBMs have been accused of practices including profiteering by overcharging health plans more than they subsequently reimburse pharmacists and pocketing the difference, a practice known as “spread pricing.”

In response to these and other concerns, New York’s 2019 State budget included language eliminating spread pricing and implementing other regulations on PBMs that work with Medicaid.  This bill would have applied similar rules to private health plans.

“The PBM industry spent a lot of money lobbying against this consumer protection bill,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair and bill sponsor Richard N. Gottfried.  “PBMs are widely recognized as major players in driving up drug costs and profiteering at the expense of people who pay health insurance premiums, patients, and pharmacists.  They’re a black box, operating in secret with no effective regulation.  There is plenty of evidence, including an analysis by the State Senate, showing what happens when regulators can’t see into this growing segment of the health care economy.  This veto means higher drug prices, higher costs for health plans and the people who pay their premiums, and lost income for pharmacies.”

“New York was on the cusp of becoming the leading state in protecting consumers, bringing questionable practices to light and saving millions of dollars with the bold proposal by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Senator Neil Breslin to finally join over two thirds of the states in regulating pharmacy benefit management companies,” said Assembly Insurance Committee Chair and bill co-sponsor Kevin Cahill.  Instead, with the stroke of his veto pen, Governor Andrew Cuomo leaves New Yorkers unprotected and these shadowy corporate behemoths free to plunder the sick, over-burdened health insurance public.”

“In this past budget, the Governor supported some protections for the Medicaid program in its dealing with PBMs,” added Gottfried.  “But he now insists that the only way he would’ve signed this bill is if we agreed to gut the bill by taking out key consumer protections, including those that parallel what we did for Medicaid.   The Governor even wanted us to take out a requirement that PBMs operate ‘with care, skill, prudence, diligence, and professionalism, and for the best interests’ of the consumer and health plans. It is incomprehensible to me.  I will be re-introducing the bill shortly and resuming the fight to get it passed and signed.”

Cahill added:  “While we remain only one of about a dozen states without any regulation of this shadow industry and with no adequate recourse for their secretive decisions, impacting millions of patients and professionals and costing millions of dollars, there is a consolation here in that we stood up to the governor’s bald attempt to substitute a fake regulatory schema that protects PBMs instead of consumers.” 

#     #     #

WRFI (with audio): 165 New Yorkers testify on proposed New York Health Act

By Fred Balfour | November 6, 2019

At the national level, the first four Democratic primary debates discussed “Medicare for all” and how to pay for it. That topic lead all the others in total minutes.

Meanwhile, New York state’s legislature held 3 open hearings across the state to discuss the proposed New York Health Act single payer health insurance. Totaling 28 hours, over 165 people testified. 20 legislators asked questions and probed for clarity.

At last count, close to a majority of NY legislators had committed to bring the New York Health Act bill to a vote in both the senate and the assembly in the 2020 session or in about four months. If the bill passes and is signed by Governor Cuomo, New York will lead the U.S. in implementing single-payer health insurance.

Fred Balfour at the WRFI Healthcare Desk explores some of the major issues coming out of these hearings. And future programs will examine the major issues in detail.

Wall Street Journal: Hearings on Single-Payer Health-Care Plans Draw Crowds Around New York

New Yorkers are waiting hours and lining up down the street to tell state legislators the same refrain: fix health care.

Workers, physicians, nurses, parents, business owners, the elderly and the infirm have been testifying at hearings around the state about the New York Health Act, which would establish universal, guaranteed health care across the state with a single-payer plan. During the most recent forum, at a public library in the Bronx last week, people filled a 150-seat auditorium to hear testimony that ultimately ended when the library closed for the day.

Riverdale Press: Slow Road to Reforming Health Care

Dr. Phil Schneider likes to keep it simple.

Walking into the speech pathologist’s Whitehall clinic,
patients generally don’t find much more than a small sparsely decorated waiting area, leading to an office dominated by Schneider’s desk, with a big window facing Independence Avenue.

Despite running a number of similar offices throughout the
city — and even a pair in Israel — Schneider runs his practice without the standard office staff one might expect. Because of that, Schneider tends to deal with all his own paperwork, most of which deals directly with health insurance companies.

Receiving standard health care can be challenging enough
through such insurance. When it comes to specialists like Schneider, it’s an everyday uphill battle that eats more and more of his time.

(Video) ABC 13 Rochester: Advocates rally and testify in front of lawmakers for single-payer health care

Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) – A proposed law could transform health care across the state. The New York Health Act would provide universal health coverage and would replace private insurance.

The proposal puts everyone under one health insurance plan, known as single-payer health care. Every New Yorker would have their health care covered by a public statewide fund, including existing federal support for Medicaid and Medicare.

The New York Health Act legislation prompted a passionate rally Thursday in front of the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. They later moved inside the building for the state’s Committee on Health public hearing.

Margaret Marinari of Macedon is among the many who believe
single-payer health care system would keep more people from falling through the cracks. She said she’s underinsured and can’t afford to go to the doctor’s office. With her husband’s health declining, she said they’re struggling to pay for medication.

Press release: With Trump “gag rule” in effect, Governor must release funding

CONTACT:  Mischa Sogut, 518-455-4941, sogutm@nyassembly.gov

For immediate release, August 23, 2019

Statement by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried

Richard N. Gottfried

“The Trump administration’s “gag rule” about abortion and reproductive health services is in effect, barring family planning providers using federal funds (known as “Title X” funds) from offering patients information about birth control, abortion or even referring them to other health care programs that provide abortion.   I and my colleagues worked with the Governor to authorize $16 million in the budget to protect family planning providers in the event this occurred. Trump’s war on women is not new – we all saw this coming. But now, with press reports of providers facing layoffs, the money has still not gone out.  

I wrote the Health Department and Division of Budget on July 2 and again on July 25. My colleagues in the Legislature and I are hearing from providers worried about making payroll. We need answers, and more importantly we need the Executive to get the money out the door.   New York is a pro-choice state and the Governor needs to step up and keep this commitment. Now.”


###

NY County Politics: Gottfried, Rivera Pen Letter Calling on DOH to save CDPA

A new policy being implemented by the New York State Department of Health (DOH) could end up neutering the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA) program – and New York lawmakers are begging them to reconsider.

Assemblymember Richard Gottfried (D-Chelsea, Midtown) and State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D- Kingsbridge Heights) have written a letter to the DOH to try and dissuade them from making the change.

Press Release: Assembly Passes Gottfried Bill to Help Seniors Coordinate Prescriptions

Today the Assembly passed A. 2785, a bill I sponsored that would allow pharmacists to synchronize the dispensing of prescriptions for Medicaid patients so that patients can pick up multiple refills at the same time.

Press Release: Bill Requiring Plant-Based Food Options in Hospitals Passes Legislature

ALBANY, NY – Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WF-Manhattan) and Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried’s bill to require plant-based food options in hospitals passed through both houses of the State legislature yesterday.

Times-Union: At packed hearing, NY lawmakers weigh single-payer health care

At a lengthy, packed hearing on the bill held Tuesday in Albany, lawmakers heard from hospitals, health care leaders, municipal officials, patients, advocates, union leaders and others who all agreed that its goal of providing comprehensive, universal coverage to New Yorkers is laudable. But whether single-payer is the system to achieve that was the topic of spirited debate.