By Hyeongsu Park and Kathy Wang
- As individual states continue their internal political debates over state-by-state Medicaid expansion, Florida’s Senate Committee rejected the measure. However, the panel continued to debate a possible compromise that would allow the state to receive more federal funding while also encouraging citizens to seek alternative options to Medicaid.
- An opinion piece in the New York Times called for holding generic drug manufacturers more accountable for damaging side effects. The case of Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett will be argued this month in the Supreme Court. Bartlett, who experienced painful, debilitating effects from taking a generic drug manufactured by Mutual, is seeking to hold Mutual liable for its defective drug design.
- A new UN report frames bioethics from another point of view, calling for its application as an “anti-torture” ethic. This report on torture and healthcare phrases many of the health and rights violations of torture practices as important bioethical considerations.
- In the international sphere, the Australian state of Tasmania has taken steps to liberalize its abortion laws.
- As debate swirls around the mandatory labeling of foods with GMO ingredients, Whole Foods has announced that it will require such labels in all its stores by 2018.
- Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are expecting a litigious year, as reported by a survey of chief IP counsels working in the industry. This highlights the growing importance and conflict over the protection of patents and intellectual property in the sector.
- Small businesses have been trying to exploit a “loophole” in the ACA requirement for small business health insurance marketplaces by offering self-insurance. This practice, more typical of large companies, allows small businesses to simply pay most of their workers’ health expenses directly.
- Employers are protesting a fee charged by the federal health care law, which would require them to pay $63/person that they insure. This fee was intended to offset the cost of covering people with high medical bills, but opponents claim it is unfairly subsidizing individual plans.