Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Category Archives: Medicine

Free Exercise of Religion by Closely Held Corporations – CRS

Free Exercise of Religion by Closely Held Corporations: Implications of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Cynthia Brougher, Legislative Attorney. July 23, 2014

“One of the ongoing controversies related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been the scope of exemption from certain health care coverage requirements, including the contraceptive coverage requirement. Though closely divided, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. has settled the question of whether certain for-profit corporations must be exempt from the requirement, unless Congress chooses to amend the statute providing those corporations legal protection. Imputing the beliefs of owners of closely held corporations to the corporations themselves, the Court found that the ACA could not require such companies to provide contraceptive coverage in group health plans offered to their employees. It based its decision on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which provides heightened protection for burdens on religious exercise. Although the case has been analogized to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a 2010 case holding that corporations have free speech rights under the First Amendment, the Hobby Lobby decision was not decided on constitutional grounds. Instead, it provides protection on a statutory basis, meaning that Congress has the ability to respond to the decision if it disagrees with the Court’s ruling. This report analyzes the Court’s opinions in Hobby Lobby, examining the rights of closely held corporations under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It also addresses the implications for the contraceptive coverage mandate under ACA and discusses potential legislative responses to the Court’s decision. Finally, it analyzes the impact that Hobby Lobby may have in other contexts in which employers may claim religious objections.”

Cancer Vaccine Exists, Goes Unused

The Atlantic: “Every 20 minutes a person in the U.S. is diagnosed with with a human-papilloma virus-associated cancer. Most of those cancers could be prevented with an HPV vaccine. But fewer than half of American children are given the vaccination, CDC officials announced yesterday.  If as many people got vaccinated against HPV as do against whoopingContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Coastal Zone Management, High Containment Labs, Medicaid, Special Education, U.S. Launch Enterprise

COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT: Opportunities Exist for NOAA to Enhance Its Use of Performance Information, GAO-14-592: Published: Jul 16, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2014. HIGH-CONTAINMENT LABORATORIES: Recent Incidents of Biosafety Lapses, GAO-14-785T: Published: Jul 16, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2014. MEDICAID: Assessment of Variation among States in Per-Enrollee Spending, GAO-14-456: Published: Jun 16, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2014. SPECIAL EDUCATION: Additional FederalContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Federal Workforce, Helium Program, Medicaid Payment, Military Training, VA Disability Claims Processing

FEDERAL WORKFORCE: Human Capital Management Challenges and the Path to Reform, GAO-14-723T: Published: Jul 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 2014. HELIUM PROGRAM: BLM’s Implementation of the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013, GAO-14-751T: Published: Jul 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 2014. MEDICAID PAYMENT: Comparisons of Selected Services under Fee-for-Service, Managed Care, and Private Insurance, GAO-14-533: Published: Jul 15, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 15,Continue Reading

NIH-commissioned Census Bureau report highlights effect of aging boomers

“While rates of smoking and excessive drinking have declined among older Americans, prevalence of chronic disease has risen, and many older Americans are unprepared to afford the costs of long-term care in a nursing home, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau commissioned by the National Institutes of Health. The report highlights those trendsContinue Reading

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

SCOTUSBlog – Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.  “Linked with: Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell Autocam Corp. v. Burwell Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term 13-354 10th Cir. Mar 25, 2014 Tr. Jun 30, 2014 5-4 Alito OT 2013 Holding: As applied to closely held corporations, the regulations promulgated by theContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Climate Change Adaption, Nuclear Security, Prescription Drugs, Border Security

CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION: DOD Can Improve Infrastructure Planning and Processes to Better Account for Potential Impacts, GAO-14-446: Published: May 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 2014. NUCLEAR SECURITY: NNSA Should Establish a Clear Vision and Path Forward for Its Security Program, GAO-14-208: Published: May 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 2014. PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Comparison of DOD, Medicaid, and Medicare Part D RetailContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Aviation Safety, Export-Import Bank, Medicare Fraud, Traffic Safety

AVIATION SAFETY: Additional Oversight Planning by FAA Could Enhance Safety Risk Management, GAO-14-516: Published: Jun 25, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 2014. EXPORT-IMPORT BANK: Status of GAO Recommendations on Risk Management, Exposure Forecasting, and Workload Issues, GAO-14-708T: Published: Jun 25, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 2014. INFORMATION SECURITY: Additional Oversight Needed to Improve Programs at Small Agencies, GAO-14-344: Published: Jun 25, 2014. Publicly Released:Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – Advanced Reactor Research, Debt Management, DOD Financial Management, Maritime Security, Medicaid, Telecommunications, Spina Bifida

ADVANCED REACTOR RESEARCH: DOE Supports Multiple Technologies, but Actions Needed to Ensure a Prototype Is Built, GAO-14-545: Published: Jun 23, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 2014. DEBT MANAGEMENT: Floating Rate Notes Can Help Treasury Meet Borrowing Goals, but Additional Actions Are Needed to Help Manage Risk, GAO-14-535: Published: Jun 16, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 2014. DEBT MANAGEMENT: Survey of Investors inContinue Reading

Why do people persist in believing things that aren’t true?

Maria Konnikova, New Yorker [snipped] – “Last month, Brendan Nyhan, a professor of political science at Dartmouth, published the results of a study that he and a team of pediatricians and political scientists had been working on for three years. They had followed a group of almost two thousand parents, all of whom had at least oneContinue Reading

HSA Balances, Contributions, Distributions, and Other Vital Statistics

“Fronstin, Paul, HSA Balances, Contributions, Distributions, and Other Vital Statistics — A First Look at Data from the EBRI HSA Database on the 10th Anniversary of the HSA (June 2014). EBRI Issue Brief, Number 400 (June 2014). Available for download at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2456259 “This year marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of health savings accountsContinue Reading

Nature Outlook – Cancer

Free full access “Cancer kills millions of people across the globe every year. But the development of targeted medicines, novel drug delivery technologies and clinical research data offer a glimpse towards a cancer-free future. This Outlook – a joint publication by Nature and Scientific American – examines the scientific advances that are needed to propel us into a world whereContinue Reading