Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Cuomo Veto Hurts You

For the second time in as many years, Governor Cuomo abandoned vulnerable New Yorkers by vetoing the 90-day prescription bill I co-sponsored with my recently departed friend and colleague, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz.

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The current law limits refills on recurring prescriptions to a 30-day supply. In our bill, pharmacies would have been allowed to increase that supply to 90 days.

This change could have helped the elderly, those who are fighting a chronic illness or managing a life-long medical condition such as diabetes or a thyroid issue, or anyone with a long-term prescription for the same medication and dosage.

Our goal was to simplify care, decrease costs, and promote treatment that is more effective by minimizing delayed and multiple refills. Instead, thanks to the governor’s veto, we’re still left with no choice but refilling and having to pay for the same prescription every 30 days.

Adding insult to injury, the reason he gave for the veto is that the law would have made it harder to battle the opioid epidemic and easier to abuse controlled substances. The very first sentence of the bill specifically excludes controlled substances, which leads me to wonder if the bill was ever read or even understood before it was vetoed.

It’s inexcusable to force anyone, especially seniors with limited mobility and a fixed income, or people battling serious diseases, to make three separate trips to the pharmacy to fill three identical prescriptions and pay three different co-payments, when it could have all been reduced to one. Rest assured this fight is not over.

Every Opportunity For Every Student

Everyone is blessed with different gifts, and many are blessed with the gift of zitzfleish. To put it politely, zitzfleish is the ability to sit still for a long time. It’s an ability most good students share, and I admit I was not one of them.

The same can be said by many smart, talented, and ambitious young people who are blessed with extraordinary abilities ranging from mechanics and construction to technology and art, and many other valuable talents that don’t require sitting still in school.

Sadly, many are stuck in an educational system that judges them by what they lack rather than what they have. Those who fail to succeed in this environment often wind up in lower paying jobs that lack security or personal fulfillment.

Today’s economy is exploding with opportunities for workers with specialized skills, and these students stand to gain the most. Asking them to ignore their strengths and abilities, and to forgo lucrative, fulfilling careers in exchange for a high school diploma is unfair and counterproductive.

Legislation I co-sponsored with Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman, which was recently signed into law by Governor Cuomo, requires the New York City Department of Education to conduct a study on how to increase career and technical education (CTE) programs in schools. The law creates legitimate educational options by broadening how we traditionally define education.

CTE provides academic and technical knowledge and training to high school students who would be better off if trained in valued trades such as welding, plumbing, mechanical repair, carpentry, and various emerging technologies such as 3D printing.

This is the first step in expanding the range of an accredited high school curriculum to include students who wish to follow and excel in careers that match their abilities and interests. Hopefully, soon, every student will be given every chance to gain the most from every gift they are blessed to have.

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