Your Weekly Dose of Health February 6, 2015

Affordable Care Act

  • Over two million people signed up for healthcare under New York State’s health exchange. 89% of those enrolled said they previously had no coverage.
  • In order to pay for the continued operation of the state’s health exchange, Governor Cuomo has proposed a new tax on health care policies. The tax would amount to about $25 per person. Health insurers plan to fight against it.
  • President Obama’s budget asks for over $2billion to operate health exchanges, with $1.6 billion of that coming from fees on insurers.

New York State

  • Governor Cuomo’s budget includes a proposal to allow private equity investment in hospitals, in addition to proposals surrounding Medicaid, urgent care clinics, and pharmaceuticals. Many of the proposals are detailed here.
  • The Healthcare Association of NYS testified at a joint committee hearing on Monday, supporting healthcare initiatives in the Governor’s budget.
  • To save money, the Governor has proposed an end to the physician profile website, which includes malpractice awards. The Governor says the info is available on other sites, but plan has some advocacy groups concerned.
  • Legislation introduced in the Senate would cap at 5% the co-pay for participants in the state’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Program.
  • The New York State Health Foundation has launched a grant program called the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund Initiative, which will give a total of $2 million dollars to six New York State communities to support various health related programs.

New York City

Medical Marijuana

  • University at Buffalo researchers are studying components of marijuana that may be useful in reducing certain forms of depression resulting from chronic stress.

Hearings and Meetings

  • The Public Health and Health Planning Council will meet on February 12th at 10A.M. More info is here.