NY Lawmakers on the Move May 25, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Stewart-Cousins announces Senate Majority advances package making prescription drugs more affordable

State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Westchester) announced yesterday the Senate Majority advanced a package of legislation to improve the accessibility and affordability of prescription drugs for all New Yorkers. 

“An estimated 1.7 million New Yorkers suffer from diabetes, and it is the 7th leading cause of death in the nation. Making the cost of insulin more affordable will help over a million New Yorkers who depend on insulin for survival. While we are still combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate Majority is dedicated to providing affordable healthcare and life-saving medications,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

“I’m glad we could deliver a package that will help lower the cost of medicine, and help New York get back on track. We are holding pharmaceutical companies accountable, and working with them to offer more affordable medication. I thank the Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Gustavo Rivera, and the bill sponsors for their important efforts,” the lawmaker added.

The proposed bills would reduce the cap on cost-sharing for insulin from $100 to $30 per month, assist seniors with prescription fees, and make all third-party discounts, vouchers, and financial assistance for prescription drugs made on behalf of the insured individual applicable to their co-payment, deductible, co-insurance, and out-of-pocket maximum. 

Given the new legislation, seniors will now be eligible for the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program if they have enrolled in the Medicare Part D insurance plan and any other comparable plan. 

In addition to cost-saving initiatives, the legislation will also promote prescription drug awareness and provide information on cost-increase measures. One bill requires pharmaceutical companies to offer a sixty-day notice of their intent to raise the cost of a prescription drug if the increase is greater than 10%. 

Other bills sponsors in the package included Senators Julia Salazar, James Skoufis, Neil Breslin, Samra Brouk, and Todd Kaminsky.

Braunstein-Harckham bill providing opioid overdose drugs passes Assembly and Senate 

Assembly Member Edward Braunstein

Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-Queens) and Senator Pete Harckham (Westchester, Hudson Valley saw their legislation ensuring that at-risk patients discharged from treatment facilities are provided with opioid overdose educational materials and two doses of an opioid antagonist pass both legislative chambers overwhelmingly.

Previously incarcerated individuals identified with a substance-use disorder would also be provided these materials upon release under the bill. 

According to data released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year, setting a new record in the nation’s overdose epidemic. Opioid antagonists, such as naloxone, are drugs that reverse the effects of opioids and are effective in preventing overdose deaths.  

In 2018, the United States Surgeon General issued the first national advisory in over a decade, urging more Americans to carry naloxone. The availability of an opioid antagonist is crucial in ensuring that overdose deaths do not occur. 

“At the national and local level, we have seen a significant increase in opioid overdoses, and we must use every tool at our disposal to address this growing crisis,” said Braunstein. “Increasing education about opioid overdose, as well as access to the antidote naloxone, would help to reverse the addiction crisis and save lives in New York.”

“Residents with Substance Use Disorder need all of the resources possibly available to them in order to avoid an overdose—it’s that simple,” said Harckham. “This legislation ensures that an opioid antagonist, such as naloxone, and educational materials are given to individuals leaving treatment programs, which will certainly save lives statewide.”

De La Rosa joins Uptown community leaders to celebrate Coogan’s Way street co-naming

Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa (Photo credit: nyassembly.gov)
City Council Member Carmen De La Rosa

City Council Member Carmen De La Rosa (D-Manhattan) yesterday joined Coogan’s owners, Dave Hunt, Peter Walsh and Tessa O’Conner McDade and Coogan’s staff, elected officials, community members  and scores of past customers for the street co-naming  of 169th Street & Broadway in honor of this cherished business which served Uptown for decades.

Coogans was a staple for so many Washington Heights residents. From community meetings to 5k runs, the Coogans family was always present. A beloved institution since 1985, located next to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the bar closed on March 17, 2020 on St. Patrick’s Day, usually its busiest day of the year. 

Due to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, the bar couldn’t afford the high costs and sadly had to close their doors like so many treasured small businesses in New York City. 

Additionally, the Armory Foundation will host a viewing of the documentary film Coogan’s Way. The event is slated for 5:30 p.m., today May 25 at 169th Street and Broadway in Washington Heights.

Colton Commends decision for nighttime cops patrolling subways 

Assembly Member William Colton

Assemblyman William Colton (D-Brooklyn) yesterday commended the city’s decision to bring nighttime transit police to patrol the subways.

“I commend the Transit Bureau Chief for his swift decision to bring back transit police to walk subway trains in the evenings and overnight hours. I am glad to hear that transit cops are already walking the trains. It is wonderful that approximately 2,500 officers from the strong Transit Bureau will be patrolling across the city’s subway,” said Colton.

Since May 11, Colton has demanded that the city and state provide as much funding into patrolling the subways as the transit police had back in 1990. Within a few weeks, his office successfully collected close to five hundred petitions, and counting.

“It’s a big move in the right direction but not enough. We need police presence around the clock for the commuters to feel and be safe on the subway. We are not going to quit until every commuter will be safe and fearless to use the subway or any public transportation,” Colton added.