June 29, 2012
By Amy Kaufman*
Supreme Court Upholds Healthcare Reform Law
The Washington Post (6/28) reports that in a five-to-four decision, the U.S. Supreme Court voted to uphold President Barrack Obama's healthcare reform law as constitutional under Congress' taxing power. While the decision maintains the largest social program developed in a generation, including a significant expansion of Medicaid coverage and the creation of state-run insurance exchanges, it does curtail the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's authority to withhold existing funding from states that decline to extend coverage to newly covered beneficiaries. The decision represents a victory for President Obama and his Democratic colleagues.
Device Firms Do Not Support Excise Tax
Modern Healthcare (6/28) reports that medical device firms continue to support the healthcare reform law, despite the fact that the 2.3% excise tax imposed on such firms will stand. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson have indicated that they have been planning to implement provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, and believe that the law has the potential to positively impact patient care going forward (note: registration is required to access this article).
Med Schools in a Medical Home World
American Medical News (6/25) reports that medical schools are beginning to reconsider how they can educate students to better prepare them for future practice in the medical home model. The American Academy of Family Physicians, along with other physician groups, released a report in 2010 that outlines key principles that such education needs to address, including the importance of teamwork.
Women Physicians Are Paid Less
The New York Times (6/28) reports that researchers have found that the expected average salary for female physicians, even when adjusted for differences in specialty and other contributing factors, is lower than it is for male physicians. The gap may be attributable to women's tendency to be less aggressive when talking about payment and promotions, as well as biases in the workplace.
*We would like to thank Amy E. Kaufman, Esquire (Patton Boggs LLP, Washington, DC), for providing this week's update.
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