HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Worth Reading This Week

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Health Law Headlines of the Week (1/15-1/21)

Sam Baker, Court Angst for Left Over Healthcare, The Hill, Jan. 18, 2012 (here).

Supporters of President Obama’s healthcare reform have lost the high level of confidence they once displayed that the Supreme Court would throw out constitutional challenges to the law’s individual mandate.

Many liberals and some Democratic leaders initially waved off lawsuits challenging the law’s individual mandate, saying the suits were “frivolous” political stunts.

But that tone has shifted significantly since the Supreme Court devoted nearly six hours to arguments in the case—a modern record. That the high court would set aside so much time for the landmark case suggests that the justices certainly don’t see the challenges as a waste of time.

The law’s critics were also encouraged that the justices agreed to hear arguments against its Medicaid expansion. That part of the suit does not meet the criteria the court usually uses when deciding which cases to consider.

David Sherfinski, Bill Would Add Virginia to Health Care Opponents, Wash. Times, Jan. 17, 2012 (here).

A Virginia lawmaker is pushing legislation to add the state to an interstate compact that would exempt members from President Obama’s health care overhaul—a budding movement that’s providing states across the country with another constitutional weapon to combat the landmark law.

. . . [U]nder [the bill] Virginia would join other states collectively seeking to create their own health care policies through federal block grants and shield themselves from any conflicting federal law or regulation. . . .

Four other states — Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri — already have approved measures that put the compact into law, and legislation is pending in at least 12 others . . . . For a compact to take effect, it needs at least two member states and congressional approval.

Enabled by the “Compact Clause” in Article 1 of the Constitution, interstate compacts generally are used to solve cross-border problems such as transportation. About 200 compacts are currently in effect. In the Washington area, the Metrorail system is one example. But the health care compact would be the first to explicitly protect states from federal law.

Jonathan D. Rockoff & Mia Lamar, Medivation, Pfizer End Work on Alzheimer’s Drug, Wall St. J., Jan. 18, 2012 (here).

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