Single payer bill advances
February 15, 2017
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BILL TRACKER — The Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday once again passed Assemblyman Richard Gottfried’s single-payer health care bill. The legislation seeks to reduce health care costs and would be funded through a progressive income tax and payroll assessments. For the last two years, the Democratic-dominated Assembly has passed the legislation, a largely symbolic move, while the Republican-led Senate has never brought it to a vote in the chamber. Read the bill here.
… Another piece of legislation, which would require registered nurses to be on staff at facilities certified for enhanced assisted living or special needs assisted living, was withdrawn from the committee because it lacked the votes to pass. This is the fourth consecutive session the bill, also sponsored by Gottfried, has been introduced. It has never come to the floor of the Assembly for a vote. Read the bill here.
NOW WE KNOW — A group of scientists has created a Lexicocalorimeter, which measures the calories of a tweet. But tweets aren’t food, you rightly point out. Well, this machine gathers geo-tagged Twitter posts from across the country looking for food words such as “apples” or “ice cream.” It also looks for terms that relate to activities such as “watching television.” Then it figures out whether a given area is taking in more calories than it is expending. Vermont, for example, consumes more calories than any other state according to Twitter because Vermonters tweet a lot about bacon. In New Jersey, a top activity tweeted about is “getting my nails done.” Not exactly a calorie burner. These scientists are also considering creating an insomniameter to measure sleeping habits and a hangoverometer to measure, well, you get the idea. See the PLOS One study here.
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BRONX BACTERIA — New York City’s health department is alerting physicians to three cases in the city of leptospirosis, a potentially deadly bacteria usually spread through the urine of farm animals. One of the three cases has resulted in death.
NEW DONOR LAW — Legislation allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to register as organ donors takes effect Tuesday. See the bill here.
FUN PHOTO — Click here to see New York City health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett receive a cake celebrating her three years on the job.
MAKING ROUNDS — The trauma center at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital has been verified as a Level III Trauma Center through 2019 by the Verification Review Committee.
ALSO MAKING ROUNDS — Dr. George Wanna, a hearing and balance surgeon and researcher, has been named Site Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai.
— THAT OUGHT TO DO THE TRICK — Plagued by headlines of enormous price hikes, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, the industry’s largest trade group, is changing its name to the Association for Accessible Medicines. See their press release here.
WHAT WE’RE READING:
— OBAMACARE LATEST — The Republicans are splintering. The House and Senate do not agree on a path forward and conservatives do not agree with more moderate members of the party. Read more from POLITICO here.
— WEAKENING THE MANDATE — The Internal Revenue Service will accept 2016 tax returns that do not indicate whether the taxpayer complied with the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
… Does this mean repeal won’t happen? Hardly. Remember how often in 2009 it looked as if Democrats — with 60 senators — would falter? Also, keep in mind that pressure will grow on the right the longer this takes.
— OBAMACARE FALLOUT — My colleagues in D.C. report: “Health insurance giant Humana on Tuesday said it will quit Obamacare’s insurance markets altogether, announcing it will stop selling individual coverage in 2018.” Read more here.
… Cigna and Anthem appear headed for a messy divorce. Bloomberg has more.
— WHAT PETER ORSZAG THINKS WILL HAPPEN — Former president Barack Obama’s budget director thinks Obamacare will be replaced through the waiver process. Read it here.
— DON’T DO THAT — Reuters reports: “The former chief executive of Nebraska pharmaceutical benefits manager Pharmaceutical Technologies Inc has pleaded guilty to making illegal kickback payments in order to obtain business from employee benefit plans.”
— FIVE THINGS TO WATCH — Dr. Robert Califf, the recently departed head of the Food and Drug Administration, explains what to look for from the Trump administration and why he is concerned about plans to speed up drug approvals. Read it here.
— MEDIA CRITICISM — Health News Review takes The New York Times to task for a recent article extolling bariatric surgery. See it here.
TODAY’S TIP — Comes from New York City health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, who reminds us that Valentine’s Day was also National Condom Day. “Did you know the NYC condom comes in two sizes? Get some.”
— PROTEIN PROBLEM — Researchers from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, writing in The Journal of Cell Biology, say Importin-11, a protein, protects the anti-cancer protein PTEN from destruction by transporting it to the cell nucleus. Read the story here.
— STRONG WOMEN — Researchers from the Mailman School of Public Health found that 48 percent of career military women who were deployed to Vietnam for either military or civilian service are very happy, compared to 38 percent of women in the general population. The study, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine — Population Health, also found that women who served less than 10 years in the military were more likely to report their Vietnam experience as “highly stressful” (28 percent) compared to career military women who served more than 20 years (12 percent) and civilian women (13 percent).
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