NYC Council to vote on flavored e-cig ban – Politico

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Quick Fix

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— The New York City Council is expected to vote on a bill to ban flavored e-cigarettes Tuesday, though a similar ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes will not reach the chamber floor next week, sources confirmed to POLITICO. Advocates of a ban on all flavored nicotine products said they were disappointed with the Council’s lack of action on Intro 1345, sponsored by Council Member Fernando Cabrera. Massachusetts passed legislation Thursday that banned all flavored nicotine products, becoming the first state in the country to do so.

Two legal groups refiled an amended class-action lawsuit to challenge New York state’s Medicaid rules on reimbursing certain dental services that advocates deem medically necessary.

— The New York City-based Manhattan Institute for Policy Research says the U.S. should look to Germany, the Netherlands and France to develop comprehensive health care reform. An academic researcher, meanwhile, argued that New York would be wiser to build on changes enacted under the Affordable Care Act.

Policy and Politics

A SORT-OF NICOTINE BAN — POLITICO’s Amanda Eisenberg: At least, that’s what the advocates are saying. The New York City Council is expected to vote on a bill to ban flavored e-cigarettes but not menthol cigarettes — a decision “to address only a portion of a serious threat to our children,” said André Richardson, campaign manager for the Flavors Hook Kids NYC coalition.

… Historically, menthol has received special protections from federal regulations but has become a target for a ban once thousands of Americans began developing a mysterious vaping-related illness, now linked to Vitamin E acetate found in THC oil. Over the past year, Council Member Fernando Cabrera has touted his bill — which has 37 sponsors — as a way to close that loophole. Although Council members said it’s not dead yet, the bill may be left in the dust.

MEDICAID DENTAL SUIT — Amanda reports: Two legal groups refiled an amended class-action lawsuit to challenge New York state’s Medicaid rules on reimbursing certain dental services that advocates deem medically necessary. Medicaid recipients cannot receive crowns and root canals under state rules that became effective Nov. 12, 2018. They also cannot receive replacement dentures within eight years or dental implants unless they have letters of support from a physician and a dentist, according to the complaint.

LEGAL POT SUPPORT UNCHANGED — POLITICO’s Shannon Young: A Siena Poll released Thursday found that New Yorkers’ moderate support for legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes remains largely unchanged from October at 54 to 40 percent. Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg told POLITICO that while Siena has asked about the issue nearly a dozen times over the last two years, support has always been between 52 and 56 percent and opposition has always been between 40 and 44 percent. “It’s clear that in the absence of some major development on this issue, the views of voters are pretty locked in,” he said in an email. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has renewed his focus on marijuana legalization in recent months, signaling that the issue could be among his top priorities in the 2020 Legislative session.

SINGLE PAYER — Amanda reports: The United States should look to Germany, the Netherlands and France to develop comprehensive health care reform — not Canada or the United Kingdom, according to a report from conservative, New York City-based Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

— Shannon reports: As some Albany Democrats push for a single-payer health care system, an academic researcher says New York would be wiser to build on changes enacted under the Affordable Care Act. Ken Thorpe, chair of Emory University’s Department of Health Policy and Management, raised concerns about the costs associated with adopting a “Medicare-for-all” system — at either the state or federal level — and its effect on health outcomes in remarks at the New York Health Plan Association’s annual conference in Albany on Thursday.

Odds and Ends

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NOW WE KNOW — The Indian Council of Medical Research has successfully completed a clinical trial on an injectable male contraceptive, which would last about 13 years and is designed to replace a traditional vasectomy.

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TODAY’S TIP — Comes from Harvard Health: “Need a sexual boost? Eat more nuts.”

MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW Amanda @aeis17, Shannon @ShannonYoung413 and Dan @DanCGoldberg on Twitter. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @samjsutton.

STUDY THIS — City residents who live close to parks or other greenery are less likely to die before their life expectancy, new research suggests.

Around New York

DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR — The New York Daily News reports: “New Yorkers receiving SNAP benefits can earn a dollar for every dollar they spend on some fruits, vegetables and beans under a new city program. For every $1 of fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits, vegetables and beans spent at certain supermarkets, low-income residents in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will receive a matching dollar on a loyalty card they can use to purchase more eligible produce — up to $50 a day.”

MISCONDUCT RULING — The New York Court of Appeals has ruled that doctors in New York “cannot use a section of state law to sue individuals who report them to the state for alleged misconduct, whether in bad faith or not,” The New York Law Journal reports.

GRANT LAND — The Burke-Blythedale Pediatric Neuroscience Research Collaboration received two National Institutes of Health grants totaling $4.1 million.

— Rockland County received a $100,000 grant from Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul to develop and improve “age-friendly” services.

ELDER SERVICES — The Assembly Aging Committee will hold a public hearing at the Legislative Office Building in Albany today on “the availability, effectiveness and efficiency of programs and services provided to older New Yorkers and their caregivers through Area Agencies on Aging.”

Pharma Report

FLU SHOTS — Despite the availability of free flu shots and public health officials’ push for nearly all Americans to get the vaccination, many still skip the annual shot, Kaiser Health News reports.

GLITCH — The Associated Press reports: “A glitch in Medicare’s revamped prescription plan finder can steer unwitting seniors to coverage that costs much more than they need to pay, according to people who help with sign-ups as well as program experts.”

What We’re Reading

NON-ANSWER — President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the FDA, Dr. Stephen Hahn, refused to answer questions about whether or not he would seek a ban on flavored vape products in a confirmation hearing, writes Katie Thomas for The New York Times. Several states, including New York and New Jersey, have already taken steps to create their own bans.

NOT SO KOOL NOW, IS IT? — Massachusetts took one step closer to becoming the first state to ban all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, who hasn’t indicated whether or not he supports the measure. “Hopefully it will become a model for the country,” Massachusetts state Sen. John Keenan, the lead Senate sponsor, told The Wall Street Journal’s Jon Kamp.

SHORTFALL — Via Bloomberg’s Cynthia Koons: “More Americans turn to out-of-network providers when seeking mental health care than when seeking medical care, and the trend continues to worsen, a new study shows, despite a law designed to prevent this problem for people seeking treatment for conditions such as depression and addiction.”

DEATH & TAXES — A federal judge has halted Attorney General Bill Barr’s efforts to bring back federal executions. “U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the District of Columbia ruled Wednesday that the inmates were likely to succeed in their argument that Barr’s proposal to execute all four using one type of lethal injection contradicts the Federal Death Penalty Act,” writes Meagan Flynn for The Washington Post.

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