Single payer bill advances

February 15, 2017

Good morning! You are reading a complimentary synopsis of the POLITICO New York Pro Health Care newsletter. Pro subscribers receive a premium version of this newsletter, which includes an enhanced look-ahead and robust analysis of the health care news driving the day, weekdays at 5:45 a.m. Contact us here to learn more.

LOOKING FOR SUGGESTIONS — I will be moderating a panel for the Association of Health Care Journalists this evening. The topic is drug pricing and the panelists are Sarah Emond of ICER and Dr. Peter Bach of Memorial Sloan Kettering. What questions would you like these experts to answer? Email me at

SHARE ME: Like this newsletter? Please tell a friend to sign up. Give them this link.

AND MAKE SURE YOU FOLLOWJosefa Velasquez and me on Twitter @J__Velasquez & @DanCGoldberg. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @katiedjennings.

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nurses to be on staff at facilities certified for enhanced assisted living or special needs assisted living, was withdrawn from the committee because it lacked the votes to pass.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.

WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU: This roundup is for you, so please tell us how we can make it even better. Send tips, news, ideas, calendar items, releases, promotions, job postings, birthdays, congratulations, criticisms and corrections to

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.


— 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).

MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up here.


One Response to “Single payer bill advances”

  1. Lynn Huidekoper on February 18th, 2017 8:00 am

    California just introduced a new Single Payer bill today, Feb. 17, 2017, the deadline for bills this year. It is being modeled after your 2015 New York Health Act that passed the Assembly but failed in the Republican-controlled Senate.

    I see that you have re-introduced your bill, which is exciting! Now we have SP on both Coasts!

    We are having a Rally at the State Capitol in Sacramento on Wed., Feb 22 where busses from all over the State will converge on the front steps of the Capitol. The 2 Co-Authors, Sen. Ricardo Lara and Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, will be among the speakers. We are very excited since Gov. Schwarzenegger vetoed our bill twice.We would have been the first state to have Medicare for Everyone! And it could have spread tothe rest of the country just like in Canada.

    Keep up the good work in NY! We in CA support you! We WILL get SP soon!