HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Friday, April 30, 2021

Macromedical Regulation

Barak D. Richman (Duke University), Steven L. Schwarcz (Duke University), Macromedical Regulation, 82 Oh. St. L. J. (2021):

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shown that a localized disease can be transmitted to  the broader population, nationally and worldwide. This Article analyzes how to design regulation to help control that transmission. To that end, we first observe that existing healthcare regulation focuses almost exclusively on regulating individual components of the medical and healthcare industry, while lacking a capacity to address how those components work together as a system—a system that pandemics can destabilize. Indeed, one factor that contributed to COVID-19’s spread was the inability of U.S. healthcare regulation to operate on a societal level, to protect certain components from the deficiencies of others. We contend that healthcare regulation must also include what we call “macromedical” regulation: regulation that focuses on protecting the stability of the healthcare sector as a system of interconnected parts. We find some useful analogies in the Dodd-Frank Act and other post-crisis financial regulation, particularly in macroprudential regulation designed to protect the financial system as a system.

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