Sam Mellins

Sam Mellins is senior reporter at New York Focus, which he has been a part of since launch day. His reporting has also appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Intercept, THE CITY, and The Nation.

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Hochul Signs Bill to Remove Barriers to Addiction Treatment

In the latest of a series of steps Hochul has taken to change the direction of drug policy, doctors will no longer have to ask insurance companies for permission to prescribe opioid use disorder medications to Medicaid patients.

December 23, 2021
Judge Orders City to Delay Retiree Health Care Switch Until April 1

Retired city employees will be able to opt out of their newly-privatized health insurance until June 30, the judge ruled

December 14, 2021
New York City Mailed Misinformation on New Health Insurance to Retired City Employees — and Won’t Send Out a Correction

Guides sent to a quarter million retired city employees contained false information on the availability of dozens of treatments under the new plan.

December 9, 2021
Westchester Hospital Network To Shift Thousands of Retirees to Private Health Insurance

Three days before the deadline to opt out of a new health insurance plan, Westchester retirees still don’t know what’s in it.

December 3, 2021
Foreclosure Looms for Homeowners Who Thought They’d Won, Thanks to Top New York Court Ruling

The Court of Appeals found in favor of banks that complained cases were dropped on technicalities. Now homeowners across the state are bracing for new attempts to take away their homes.

November 29, 2021
Hochul Nominates Former Prosecutor to New York’s Top Court

Buffalo Appellate Judge Shirley Troutman is widely seen as well qualified, but some worry that she will accentuate the Court of Appeals’ prosecutorial leanings

November 24, 2021
State Senators, including Democratic #2, ask Hochul to Nominate Public Defender to New York’s Top Court

A 2021 retirement offers Hochul her first chance to shape New York’s Court of Appeals. Her pick will be an early indication of her ideological commitments, Senator Michael Gianaris said.

November 14, 2021
Retired City Workers Voice Opposition to New City Health Plan in Chaotic Public Hearing

More than 50 retirees said they opposed the plan. Zero said they supported it.

November 11, 2021
A Year After Reforms were Promised, People Leaving New York Jails and Prisons Still Lack IDs

Reentering society without ID makes jobs and apartments almost impossible to get. Still, many people leaving prison lack the essential paperwork.

November 4, 2021
Court Blocks Controversial Medicare Switch for Retired NYC Workers

A judge’s decision delays the Oct. 31 deadline for former city employees to decide whether they want to move to private Medicare Advantage or pay for alternatives.

October 22, 2021
Retirees Flee City Medicare Program as Deadline Looms for Move to Private Health Plan

Uncertainty about coverage and costs under Medicare Advantage has a quarter million former city workers on edge. Two lawsuits seeking to block the move are slated to be heard in court Wednesday.

October 20, 2021
New York’s Excluded Workers Fund is Running Out of Cash

Tens of thousands of undocumented workers could be left out. Advocates are pushing to add more funds.

October 6, 2021
As Rikers Crisis Persists, Prosecutors Continue to Request High Bail

“We only ask, and the court sets the bail,” the president of the state prosecutors’ association said.

September 24, 2021
Senate #2 Joins Mounting Opposition to Hochul’s Pick for Top Financial Regulator

Adrienne Harris has worked for over a dozen financial technology firms that Hochul would put her in charge of regulating.

September 14, 2021
Governor Hochul Promised a “New Era of Transparency.” So Far, Details are Scarce.

New York’s new leader has pledged to improve access to public records – but hasn’t yet committed to the policy reforms transparency experts say are needed.

September 8, 2021
Retired City Workers Brace for Shift to Privatized Health Care

City leaders have awarded a contract to provide city retirees private Medicare-like insurance to a corporate coalition termed “The Alliance.” Former public workers worry their coverage may change.

August 19, 2021
Who is Kathy Hochul? An Introduction to New York’s Next Governor

A political moderate and former Congressperson and bank executive, Hochul stands to make history as New York’s first woman governor, but may face fierce challengers in next year’s election.

August 11, 2021
Andrew Cuomo Picked His Own Impeachment Jury

The New York Court of Appeals participates in impeachment trials. Cuomo has appointed all seven members, including two of them in June

August 6, 2021
Amid Intraparty Conflict, Brooklyn Democrats Issue Judgeship Recommendations

At a meeting that included an attempt by party leadership to prevent several district leaders from voting, the party made seven picks - six of whom were donors to the party and its leaders.

August 5, 2021
New York Judges Lock the Accused Out of Their Homes, Skirting Review Required by Landmark Ruling, Critics Charge

An appellate court ordered hearings for defendants facing orders of protection that could separate them from their homes and families. But some judges — following a memo from state court officials — aren’t adhering to the ruling, defense lawyers say.

July 23, 2021
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