Good morning and welcome to this week’s New York Health Care newsletter, where we keep you posted on what’s coming up this week in health care news, and offer a look back at the important news from last week.
Happy last week of session, New York! After six months of committee hearings, bill introductions and floor debates, Albany lawmakers are set to wrap up the official 2022 legislative session on Thursday. (Though some are already preparing to stay in Albany a bit longer, if needed.)
Abortion is expected to take up much of the focus in the final days of session, as lawmakers rush to pass a series of bills aimed at shoring up protections for those who travel to New York for the procedure and health practitioners who provide reproductive care.
That includes an omnibus measure that seeks to block New York courts from issuing subpoenas in connection with out-of-state abortion proceedings; prohibit extradition of abortion providers unless they are alleged to have fled from the demanding state; and provide legal protections for New York abortion providers. And there are bills to protect the rights of individuals seeking abortion or gender-affirming care in New York, as well as to prohibit disciplinary measures against health practitioners for providing legal reproductive health services to patients who reside in states where abortion is illegal.
The package, which comes ahead of an expected U.S. Supreme Court ruling that could overturn Roe v. Wade, will also likely bar medical malpractice insurance companies from taking any adverse action against a reproductive health care provider who performs legal reproductive health care; increase confidentiality for abortion providers and patients and study the effects of limited service pregnancy centers.
Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat and sponsor of some of the bills, said that “New York must and will become an abortion safe haven for women from all across the country.” She added that her legislation will “ensure that reproductive health care providers can continue to practice without fear of consequence.”
But it remains unclear whether a push to secure abortion rights in the state constitution — and issue that has stalled in Albany for years — will finally pass before the end of session. (Advocates of the “Equality Amendment” will call for its passage with a projection that will be displayed on the Egg performing arts center on Tuesday night.)
… Aside from abortion-related bills, some Albany lawmakers are hoping to pass legislation before the end of session that clarifies the Department of Labor’s role in enforcing the New York Hero Act, which requires businesses to have certain safeguards against communicable diseases.
Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris told POLITICO that the legislation seeks to ensure that DOL “can take aggressive steps to make sure employers are complying with the law.”
“It would just make it clear that the same power they have over other violations exists here so they can investigate, impose fines or violations, take any action they otherwise would be able to take, which again, we believe they already have,” he said in an interview.
Want to receive this newsletter every weekday? Subscribe to POLITICO Pro. You’ll also receive daily policy news and other intelligence you need to act on the day’s biggest stories.
GOTTFRIED SPEAKS — POLITICO’s Shannon Young: Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, the longest-serving legislator in state history, will retire at the end of 2022 after more than 50 years in Albany. The Manhattan Democrat, who was first elected in 1970, has cemented a reputation in Albany as one of the most prominent champions for progressive issues, including LGBTQ rights and single-payer health care, called the New York Health Act, that won’t pass before his term is over. He is considered the key Albany lawmaker when it comes to health care policy, having chaired the Assembly’s powerful Health Committee since 1987.
Gottfried, 75, announced in December 2021 that he would not seek a 27th two-year term after his current term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2022. With just days left in the official 2022 legislative session, Gottfried spoke with POLITICO about his five-decade tenure in Albany and his future plans.
ADULT SURVIVORS ACT — POLITICO’s Anna Gronewold: Adult survivors of sexual abuse will now have a year to take legal action against their abusers even if the abuse happened years ago and the statute of limitations has passed. The Adult Survivors Act, signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul during an event Tuesday in Albany, could open a tranche of new lawsuits against individuals and institutions when the one-year lookback window opens for individuals who were 18 years or older at the time of the abuse.
It follows the state’s Child Victims Act, which was also sponsored by the same Manhattan Democratic duo, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and Sen. Brad Hoylman, and opened a similar window for young victims in 2019, resulting in roughly 11,000 lawsuits.
IN OTHER NEWS:
— Attorney General Tish James on Friday warned more than 30 online and brick-and-mortar retailers statewide to stop overcharging for baby formula after consumers reported unreasonably high prices.
— New Yorkers can choose “X” as their gender on their driver license, learner permit or non-driver identification card, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday.
WE LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU: This roundup is for you! Send news tips, health tips, ideas, criticisms and corrections to [email protected] and [email protected].
TODAY’S TIP — The state Office of Mental Health is offering resources to New Yorkers seeking emotional support in wake of recent mass shootings.
STUDY THIS — The New York Times reports: “One in five adult Covid survivors under the age of 65 in the United States has experienced at least one health condition that could be considered long Covid, according to a large new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among patients 65 and older, the number is even higher: one in four.”
The Post reports that “State lawmakers are pushing a bill that would help pad the pockets of lawyers representing clients in medical malpractice lawsuits.”
“Ten people were injured at the Barclays Center early Sunday morning when a loud noise heard on the street outside incited panic,” The New York Times reports.
Eleven newborns were killed in a fire at a neonatal unit at a Senegalese hospital.
Resident physicians in California and other states are attempting to unionize.
STAT examines how long Covid-19 can last without developing a resistance to the antiviral pill, Paxlovid.
Oklahoma abortion clinics are referring patients to other states in wake of a new law that outlaws most abortions, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Nicole Hockley describes to The Atlantic “her son’s death in the Sandy Hook shooting, and the long grieving process that the parents of 19 children in Uvalde now face.”
POLITICO’s Rachael Levy looks at how “America’s hospital regulator wasn’t designed for a pandemic.”
The city of Austin is attempting to shield its residents from prosecution under a Texas law that would criminalize almost all abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned — the first push by a major city in a red state to try to circumvent state abortion policy, POLITICO’s Megan Messerly reports.
POLITICO’s Helen Collis reports that the World Health Organization has urged countries that have stockpiled doses of smallpox and monkeypox vaccines and treatments to engage in talks to fairly distribute the doses where they are now most needed.
MISSED A ROUNDUP? Get caught up on the New York Health Care Newsletter.