In the second installment of the Fall 2011 Faculty Workshop Series, sponsored by the Frances Lewis Law Center, Professor Dayna Matthew, Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School, came to speak today about her book proposal, entitled Heal Our Land: A Behavioral Realist’s Proposal to Reverse Health Disparities in America.
Social science has demonstrated that African-Americans are more likely to receive different and inferior medical treatment from physicians. In the case of a patient presenting chest pains, Prof. Matthew points to studies that indicate they are less likely to receive thrombolysis, adequate pain medication, and a heart transplant. African-Americans are also more likely to be denied insurance coverage for the treatment. She hopes to offer a body of social science evidence in order to understand how the law can better address the injustice of racial and ethnic health disparities. Ultimately, she wants to open the discussion and shape the law to employ regulatory, judicial, and statutory measures that can better respond to the implicit biases.
Many thanks to Professor Matthew for visiting W&L and sharing her ideas with the faculty.
Professor Timothy S. Jost blogged a few days ago on the popular health policy blog, Health Affairs, about the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s ruling on two cases, Virginia ex rel. Cuccinelli v. Sebelius and Liberty University Inc. v. Geithner, finding a lack of standing for the plaintiffs and dismissing the cases on jurisdictional grounds.
In the post, Prof. Jost describes the two cases that found themselves before the 4th Circuit and explains what the opinions mean. Both cases were decided on jurisdictional grounds, rather than on the merits, although two judges expressed the opinion that the minimum coverage requirement is constitutional. After explaining the two cases, Prof. Jost then outlines the potential paths forward and how ultimately, this issue will need to be decided by the Supreme Court.
Professor Jeffrey H. Kahn recently published his article, Free Rider: A Justification for Mandatory Medical Insurance Under Health Care Reform? in the Michigan Law Review’s First Impressions, an online companion to the Law Review. Prof. Kahn wrote the article with his father, Douglas A. Kahn, the Paul G. Kauper Professor of Law at the University of Michigan School of Law.
The article discusses the much-debated and controversial Section 1501 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which added section 5000A to the Internal Revenue Code to require most individuals in the United States to purchase an established minimum level of medical insurance. This requirement, which is enforced by a penalty imposed on those who fail to comply, is sometimes referred to as the “individual mandate.” Professor Kahn does not address the constitutionality of the section, but rather, focuses on the viability of one of the justifications that often is put forth for the adoption of the individual mandate: the “free-rider” problem. The article concludes that the free-rider problem, if it existed at all, likely was of minor significance and can hardly be said to justify the adoption of the new health care program. The actual congressional reason for adopting the program, Prof. Kahn argues, seems to rest on an entirely different purpose, and the debate over the desirability of the program should focus on the merits of that other purpose.