Election looms over Albany health policy

Good morning and welcome to Monday’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 election week, New York! After a monthslong inundation of campaign ads, debates and get-out-the-vote rallies, the 2022 midterm elections are finally here.

New Yorkers will hit the polls Tuesday to make their picks for governor, state legislative seats and Congress — the results of which could have major implications on the future of health care policy both in New York and nationwide.

A win for Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who is seeking her first full term after taking over from Andrew Cuomo in 2021, would likely mean continuance of policies enacted in recent months — barring any major shake-ups in Democrats’ control of the Legislature.

But a gubernatorial win for Republican Lee Zeldin would likely usher in a new era of health care policy in Albany (as well as a cabinet with new health officials). Zeldin said that if elected, he wants to eliminate any remaining Covid-19 mandates in place in the state. He has also said he won’t undercut New Yorkers’ access to abortion — a claim some Democrats have publicly questioned.

Outside of Albany, the outcome of Tuesday’s elections could spell the end of one-party control in Washington — and Democrats’ hopes for a federal law protecting abortion access. New Yorkers are expected to play a deciding role in the makeup of the next Congress, with several U.S. House seats facing competitive races.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Shannon is off this week for vacation. POLITICO’s Julian Shen-Berro is stepping in to help with this newsletter. Please send all tips, news and scoops to him at [email protected]

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MASTER PLAN — POLITICO’s Shannon Young: Gov. Kathy Hochul directed state health and aging officials on Friday to form a new council that will be tasked with creating a “Master Plan for Aging” — a proposal first included in the Democrats’ State of the State priorities.

The governor issued an executive order requiring Health Commissioner Mary Bassett and Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen to head a Master Plan for Aging Council, which will gather input and draft guidance for “building healthy, livable communities that offer opportunities for older adults.”

Hochul said the master plan “will provide us with tools to ensure our aging New Yorkers have access to quality long term care in healthy, livable communities where they can thrive.”

… The announcement came several months after Hochul, while laying out her 2022 vision for New York, said she would take executive action to coordinate all state policy and programs to ensure that older New Yorkers “can live fulfilling lives, in good health, with the freedom and independence to age in place for as long as possible.”

ALL SETTLED — Shannon reports: Teva Pharmaceuticals will pay New York up to $523 million to resolve claims…

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