Gorsuch On Sidelines As Supreme Court Decides Insurance, Legal Sanctions Cases

Forbes, 18 April 2017
Author: Daniel Fisher
“The U.S. Supreme Court issued a pair of decisions today affecting legal sanctions and the power of states to control insurance contracts, noting in each one the non-participation of the court’s newest Justice, Neil Gorsuch.”
Find article here.

From physician to felon: A doctor warns how easy it is to be bribed

Washington Post, 12 April 2017
Author: Lenny Bernstein
“In 2014, an internist pleaded guilty to one count of accepting a bribe. She accepted monthly payments of $5,000 to refer patients to Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services, for blood tests and other screenings. Such referrals are illegal in medicine because of the potential that doctors will put their financial interests ahead of the needs of their patients. To date, 29 doctors have been convicted in the multiyear investigation. The U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey said the case involves more than $100 million paid to the testing lab by Medicare and private insurance companies.”
Find article here.

Alberta rushed $10-million grant, eliminated ethical oversight, for unproven health program

CBC, 4 April 2017
Authors: Jennie Russell, Charles Rusnell
“Six days before Alberta Health rushed to deliver a $10-million grant to a private alternative-health foundation, the ministry abruptly changed the grant’s purpose, eliminating the need for ethics approval for what experts say was a human-subject experiment on thousands of Alberta seniors. The decision was made against the advice of officials from several ministries who had determined the Pure North program was not adequately supported by scientific evidence, could not prove the incredible health and economic benefits it claimed, and could cause adverse health effects in participants.”
Find article here.

Medical Liability — Prospects for Federal Reform

NEJM, 29 March 2017
Author: Michelle M. Mello, Allen Kachalia, David M. Studdert
“Medical malpractice reform appears to be back on the federal policy agenda. The appointment of Tom Price, a long-time proponent of tort reform, as secretary of health and human services, in conjunction with Republican control of both houses of Congress, has created fertile conditions for several Republican proposals that have languished for years without the requisite support. Although it has been debated many times, a major federal foray into medical liability, a state-based area of law, would be unprecedented. The prospect raises several questions: Which reforms are on the table? Would they be effective? And is the time right?”
Find article here.

Health care could be behind Canada’s longer life expectancy

BBC, 29 March 2017
Author: Robin Levinson-King
“Canadians are outliving Americans, in some cases, by as much as a decade. US patients with private insurance had a similar life expectancy as their Canadian counterparts, whereas Canadians had a 44% lower death rate than Americans on Medicaid. The uninsured fared the worst – Canadians had a 77% lower death rate than Americans who had no insurance at all. Is public healthcare the secret to longevity?”
Find article here.

Abortion care in Canada is decided between a woman and her doctor, without recourse to criminal law

BMJ 2017; 356: j1506
Authors: W V Norman, J Downie
“As the UK debates decriminalisation of abortion and people wonder about the effects it might have, it may be useful to consider the Canadian experience of nearly 30 years without a criminal law to police access to abortion.”
Find article here.

What Can US Policymakers Learn About Essential Health Benefits From Israel?

Health Affairs Blog, 23 March 2017
Authors: Rachel Nisanhotz, David Chinitz, Sara Rosenbaum
“US policymakers confronting these complex questions could benefit from a close look at how other health systems approach them. In particular, it may surprise readers to know that Israel has a system very much in line with many US policymakers’ goals of fostering a competitive private insurance market. The Israeli system rests on the concept of competing private health plans selling care in a market of empowered consumers. But one crucial difference is how Israel approaches the question of what it means to be covered.”
Find article here.

How Will People Who Are Already Sick Be Treated Under A New Health Law?

NPR, 13 March 2017
Author: Julie Rovner
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) made it illegal for insurers to deny or charge people more money because of a history of illness. That’s a pretty big deal because an estimated 52 million American adults have such conditions – ranging from serious ailments like diabetes and HIV to more minor maladies like acne or seasonal allergies. Before the ACA, people with these conditions were often denied insurance. If they were offered insurance, it could cost more or didn’t include coverage of their condition.”
Find article here.