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ABC News 10 (with video): Critics roast Department of Health for proposed change in drinking water regulation

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Opposition to a revision in the Health Department’s new water standards say it could result in New Yorkers drinking toxic water.

The Department of Health has backtracked on its drinking water standards, say legislators, community advocates, and environmentalists. They want Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to rescind a revision that turns a three-month notification rule into a once-a-year requirement.

“New York should be strengthening, not weakening, our clean water protections,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried in a statement. “There’s no reason to delay or reduce public notification processes, nor to delay installing treatment systems when we know how toxic these chemicals are.”

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.

The Indypendant: NY Pot Reform Gains New Support in Albany, But Will It Go Up in Smoke Again This Year?

Last year, New York State legalizing marijuana was considered an almost-sure thing.

In December 2018, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, the veteran Manhattan Democrat who sponsored both the state’s 1977 pot-decriminalization law and its 2014 medical-cannabis measure, said that the debate on legalization was no longer “about whether to allow adult use, but how to structure the industry.”

But that debate was what tripped up legalization legislation last year, with two separate bills — the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and state Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (CRTA) — offering different versions of that structure. Cuomo dropped his proposal from the state budget and the Krueger/Peoples-Stokes bill never made it out of committee.

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.

Buffalo News: The Medicaid muddle: Cuomo’s budget proposal creates worry and confusion

Cuomo said the MRT panel should hold counties “harmless” in its plan and that Medicaid recipients should not see benefits affected. What’s that leave? Real cuts to providers? Tax hikes on private insurance plans? New ways to reduce waste or fraud?

“I’m incredibly concerned that the governor’s office has yet to release the necessary details we need to assess the potential impact on our localities’ Medicaid share,” said Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Bronx Democrat who heads the Senate health committee. He said Cuomo’s fiscal overview suggests New York City – and “particularly residents of my district” – will feel end up seeing actual Medicaid cuts.

Gottfried, the Manhattan lawmaker, is even more pointed. “It’s hard to believe that it isn’t a sham,’’ he said of the MRT route. He thinks it’s quite possible Cuomo’s budget team already has specific plans that will be rubber stamped by the MRT. Gottfried served on the 2011 MRT, and he eventually praised the end product.

NY Post: Cuomo proposes 3 percent tax on new medical facilities

Many health care firms looking to erect new medical facilities face a fat tax hike under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $178-billion budget plan.

But health care advocates and analysts said the 3 percent surcharge is a sick tax that should be rejected.

“This does not seem to be fully thought through. In the Public Health Law, ‘hospital’ is a broad term that includes not only things we ordinarily call hospitals, but also community health centers, clinics, nursing homes, etc,” said Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan).

City and State: The 2020 Health Power 100

Over the past half century, Richard Gottfried has been a progressive stalwart in Albany. Since he was elected to the Assembly in 1970 at age 23, he has helped craft a raft of notable health care policy measures, including the state’s landmark managed care reform and multiple laws creating avenues for low-income New Yorkers to access insurance. He has championed end-of-life care and reproductive rights, and was the first sponsor of a same-sex marriage bill in the Assembly.

Bloomberg Law: New York’s Medicaid Budget Is Bleeding; Some Want Cash Infusion

The governor, in his Jan. 8 address, called the current situation “unsustainable” and referenced the state’s Medicaid Redesign Team, or MRT, which he created in 2011.

Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard N. Gottfried (D) called the MRT largely a “sham.”

Many of the problems the state is experiencing came from changes made by the redesign, like moving toward managed care plans, he said. “I believe that the only responsible answer to this increase in Medicaid spending is on the tax side of the ledger.”

Jamestown Post-Journal: Assembly Approves Bill To Aid Blood Drives

January 20, 2020

The state Assembly has approved legislation that would allow the state Health Department to make grants to organizations that hold blood drives.

Assemblyman Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda, voted in favor of A.1151 while Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, was marked ER for the vote. Only one Assembly member, Michael Montesano, R-Glen Head, voted against the legislation. There was no discussion of the proposal’s merits on the Assembly floor.

The legislation, S.3739, is still in the state Senate’s Health Committee.

It would amend the state Public Health Law to allow the state health commissioner to make grants to non-profits and elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools to help pay costs to hold local 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.”

Similar legislation has been brought up in every legislative session since 2003 and has passed the Assembly eight times. It has been vetoed three times by the governor.