IN THIS ISSUE: Health Law Reporter Summer 2012

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Summer 2012 Health Law Reporter

David Sontag and Julia Hesse, Co-editors

The 2011-2012 United States Supreme Court term was one of the most momentous in history in terms of its impact on the healthcare industry.  In addition to the Court’s famous (or infamous, depending in your point of view) decision on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the Court also weighed in with important decisions in the field of intellectual property, HIV privacy, the power of states to overturn the Federal Arbitration Act in the nursing home context, and the Court’s decision to remand the much-anticipated Douglas Medicaid funding case to a lower court, among others.   A brief summarizing each of these cases is included in this issue.

Further, we asked leaders throughout the Boston healthcare community to comment on the impact of the Supreme Court’s decisions this term.  We gave all of the authors an open mandate to weigh in on any aspect of the Supreme Court’s decisions, individually or collectively, that were meaningful to them.   It is a comment on the breadth and complexity of these cases that the authors provided us with such diversity in their thoughts and opinions on the issues presented.  We thank them for their contributions to the Health Law Reporter, and hope that you will enjoy reading their perspectives as much as we did.

Opinion Pieces

Massachusetts and the ACA:  Cause and Effect
By: Eric J. Beyer, Tufts Medical Center

What’s Empathy Got to Do with It: Medicaid Expansion and Empathic Space

By: James Corbett, M.Div., J.D., Steward Healthcare

F.A.A. et al v. Cooper and the Coming Conflict between Privacy and Health Care
By: Denise McWilliams, Esq. and Richard Juang, Esq., AIDS Action Committee

Affordable Care Act will Restructure Health Care Market & Improve Access and Quality of Care
By: James Roosevelt Jr., Tufts Health Plan

Expanding Health Care Access to the Poor, ‘A Simple Case’?  Roberts: Not So Much
By: Matt Selig, Health Law Advocates

Affordable Care Act Continues to Create a Healthier America
By: Eva Marie Stahl, PhD, MPA, and Anna Dunbar-Hester, JD, MPP, Community Catalyst

Health Law Case Briefs

Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland 
By: Margaretta Kroeger
Whether a state employer has sovereign immunity against a FMLA claim.

Douglas v. Independent Living Centers of Southern California, Inc.  
By: Tom Barker and Joel Goloskie
Whether a Medicaid provider or beneficiary has a right to sue a state Medicaid agency if that state enacts a law or regulation that is contrary to the “quality and access” provision of the federal Medicaid Act.

Federal Aviation Administration v. Cooper
By: Sarah Kitchell
Whether a plaintiff can recover only proven pecuniary damages, or other special/consequential damages, for a violation of the Privacy Act of 1974 related to disclosure of HIV status.

Marmet Health Care Center v. Clayton Brown, Clarksburg Nursing Home v. Marchio
By: Phillip Rakhunov
Whether state supreme court’s determination that enforcement of an arbitration clause is against public policy is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.  Specifically, whether the FAA preempts West Virginia Supreme Court’s determination that an arbitration provision in a contract for nursing home services is unenforceable in the context of a personal injury claim, where the claim post-dates the agreement.

Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc.
By: Kristyn Bunce DeFilipp
Whether a test that determines how a drug is metabolized is patentable, or instead is a “law of nature” that cannot be patented.

National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius
By:  James P. Dowden, Douglas H. Hallward-Driemeier, and Brendon O. Carrington
In a landmark ruling this summer, the Supreme Court upheld key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), while at the same time stressing the limits of federal regulatory authority.