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Good Morning, Brooklyn: Wednesday, April 6, 2022

April 6, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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‘FAMILY GLITCH’ BEING FIXED: The Biden-Harris Administration on Tuesday proposed a rule to strengthen the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by fixing the “family glitch,” which would save hundreds of thousands of families hundreds of dollars a month. Current regulations define employer-based health insurance as “affordable” if the coverage is solely for the employee, and not for family members; consequently, family members become ineligible for a premium tax credit even though they need it to afford high-quality coverage through the Marketplace.

The Treasury’s new proposed rules will remove this “family glitch,” and stipulate that family members who have to pay more than 10 percent of income for coverage will become eligible to get financial help under the ACA. As a result, 200,000 uninsured people are expected to gain coverage, and nearly a million more are expected to see lower premiums every day.

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MEDICAL ASSOCIATION RESPONDS FAVORABLY: Responding to the U.S. Treasury’s new rules on the ACA, Gerald E. Harmon, M.D., president of the American Medical Association, said “With the announcement today, the Biden Administration has taken a crucial step in the campaign to cover the 5 million uninsured people who fall into the family glitch. The family glitch is inconsistent with the goals of the Affordable Care Act and unfairly penalizes family members of lower-income workers.”

Dr. Harmon added, “The American Medical Association has repeatedly asked Congress and administrations to fix the glitch, and the Biden Administration has made good on its promise to make health care coverage more affordable.”

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PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING FOR NEW YORKERS AGES 11 AND UP: The latest New York City Council Participatory Budgeting Cycle 11, which runs through Sunday, April 10, gives constituents a say in how their councilmanic district spends $1,000,000 to improve communities. The People’s Budget enables New York City residents to propose, evaluate, and vote on projects in their City Council districts, with the councilmember funding successful projects, several of which are in Brooklyn.

Voters in Participatory Budgeting can be as young as 11 years old, and/or be in 6th Grade! Check out your district to cast your vote online for your favorite projects. https://www.participate.nyc.gov/processes/pb

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GRANT TO IMPROVE PATIENT-DOCTOR COMMUNICATION: The New York State Health (NYSHealth) Foundation has awarded SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University with a $50K grant to support and enhance provider-patient communication at University Hospital at Downstate (UHD), one of 16 hospitals selected throughout the state. This builds on communication since June 2014, when University Hospital at Downstate went live with OpenNotes as part of a hospital-wide commitment to make electronic health information available to patients. Funding from this grant will provide resources to retain staff dedicated to training health care workers, assisting patients in accessing Open Notes and increasing the hospital’s focus on the patient population’s distinct needs via a digital literacy plan that includes customer feedback.

The grant will also enable hospitals to comply with the 21st Century Cures Act, which took effect last year.

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DEMANDING THAT LNG PERMIT BE DENIED ALTOGETHER: Members of the No North Brooklyn Pipeline Coalition briefly and creatively shut down a street outside the Department of Environmental Conservation’s building this morning to send the DEC and Governor Hochul a message: “No LNG” (standing for liquified natural gas). They were protesting National Grid’s application for an air permit to add two new vaporizers to its Greenpoint liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on the banks of Newtown Creek, which the coalition says would add more polluting fossil fuel infrastructure adjacent to the creek, a designated Superfund site.

Although the DEC has delayed the vaporizer permit decision several times already, citing the need to review thousands of public comments before an expected May 7 decision, the coalition wants the agency to deny the permit altogether to protect the health of disadvantaged communities living in proximity to the plant.

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SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICES REOPEN: Local Social Security offices will restore in-person services, including for people without an appointment, starting tomorrow, Thursday, April 7, announced Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi, who continues to strongly encourage people to utilize the agency’s online services at www.socialsecurity.gov, and to schedule appointments in advance. Customers who walk in without appointments may encounter delays and longer waits at the offices.

Local Social Security offices tend to be the busiest first thing in the morning, early in the week, and during the early part of the month, so people may want to plan their visits accordingly.

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POWERUP! BUSINESS PLAN CONTEST: Entrepreneurs are encouraged to enter the Brooklyn Public Library’s PowerUP! Business Plan Competition and win up to $20,000. to start a company in Brooklyn. Participants will attend classes, meet local business mentors, learn how to write a business plan, gain valuable financial and marketing skills, and compete for cash prizes to help fund a dream. The 2022 application deadline is May 1. Applicants must attend one orientation webinar in April: https://www.bklynlibrary.org/calendar/2022-powerup-business-virtual-20220406

In 2021, $40,000 in seed capital was awarded to eight finalists, with an additional $1,000 awarded to the audience favorite in the Audience Choice Pitch Competition.

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SMOKERS’ QUITLINE UNVEILS NEW RESOURCE: The New York State Smokers’ Quitline has unveiled a resource to help tobacco and electronic nicotine product users take control of their health. Learn2QuitNY, a free comprehensive six-week text program, provides step-by-step guidance for New York State residents to learn and practice skills that promote freedom from nicotine dependence. Residents can enroll by visiting nysmokefree.com/text.

Quit Coaches are available seven days a week at 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) and nysmokefree.com to empower clients with developing quit-plans, navigating triggers, and using medications to help them achieve freedom from nicotine. Most New York State residents are also eligible to receive a free starter supply of NRT via mail, typically in the form of nicotine patches, nicotine gum or nicotine lozenges.

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IPS NEWS: HEARING ON CONVERSION TO ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-12/Northern Brooklyn), chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, held a hearing yesterday to examine the benefits, opportunities, and challenges of electrifying the Postal Service fleet through the acquisition of the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV). During the hearing, witnesses raised concerns about flawed assumptions in the environmental and cost analyses that the Postal Service used to justify the purchase of gas-guzzling delivery trucks, and highlighted the potential cost savings from EVs, and discussed how electrifying the Postal Service fleet is crucial to reducing carbon emissions, fighting climate change, and reducing our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. They also highlighted how the private sector is increasingly moving to EVs, which are more cost-effective in the long run due to lower maintenance and fuel costs.

The Postal Service agreed with Members that they should be working towards a transition to EVs and called on Congress to provide additional funding to expedite the transition.

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IPS NEWS: PREVENTING SEXUAL ASSAULT ON CAMPUSES: Governor Kathy Hochul yesterday issued a proclamation designating April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in New York State. She also announced that a $750,000 Enough is Enough Training and Technical Assistance Center grant has been awarded to two organizations to help eradicate sexual violence on college campuses and provide crucial support services to survivors.

The grant recipients are the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault.

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CORRECTION: A caption in the March 30 story about the Medical Society of the County of Kings misidentified Dr. Parag Mehta as the new president of the organization. It should read that Dr. Mehta is next president of the Medical Society of the State of NY (MSSNY). The Eagle regrets the error.

The Kings County group launched its bicentennial year at a dinner last week.

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WONDER WHEEL OPENS SEASON WITH ‘BLESSING OF THE RIDES’: Deno’s WONDER WHEEL opens the 2022 season this Sunday, April 10, with a ribbon cutting BLESSING OF THE RIDES ceremony that the entire Vourderis family is hosting. During their lifetimes, Denos and Lula Vourderis founded and operated the WONDER WHEEL. Pastor Toyin Facus of Coney Island’s SALT & SEA Mission will join them for the invocation of the iconic amusement ride, which will be open during the spring from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in April and May, until expanded summer hours begin.

“The Vourderis family is delighted to invite everyone to the springtime opening” said Dennis and Steve Vourderis, owner-operators of Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park “and our local Salt & Sea Mission kids get to enjoy the rides FREE. We cherish and honor the memory of our parents, Denos and Lula Vourderis who created this tradition with the Mission founder, Debbie Santiago in 1985.”


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