Network Report

4/3/14

Current Issues in Public Health Law

Coverage Parity for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

The Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) of 1996 and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008 have created greater access to mental health and substance abuse disorder services by ensuring adequate coverage for treatment costs. The addition of the services as one of the 10 essential health benefits required to be covered by health insurers under the Affordable Care Act has further expanded access. Despite these advancements, many gaps remain. 

More about mental health and substance abuse disorder coverage.

Upcoming Webinar: Regulating Non-Medical Marijuana

Policy-makers, advocates and others in Colorado and Washington State are grappling with how to regulate non-medical marijuana in an industry that is still largely illegal in the national and international arenas. This webinar will provide an overview of issues related to non-medical marijuana regulation through lessons learned from decades of alcohol and tobacco regulation, along with insights from Washington State’s recent implementation of a marijuana law. The free webinar takes place on Thursday, April 17 at 1 p.m. (ET).

Learn more about the Non-Medical Marijuana Webinar and register.

Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention

Prescription drug overdose in the United States is at epidemic levels. The Network and the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control will host a workshop to discuss and examine legal and policy options to address this growing problem. Taking place at the Safe States Conference in May, the workshop will provide insights and best practices from public health attorneys and practitioners in states that have adopted overdose prevention initiatives.

Learn more about the workshop.

Ask the Experts:

Budgetary Limits for Nonprofit Lobbying

The Network was recently contacted by a state public health association requesting information about budgetary limits for nonprofit lobbying. Nonprofits such as 501(c)(3) organizations can engage in a limited amount of lobbying, which includes activities to influence federal, state or local legislation, as well supporting or opposing ballot measures. To determine how much lobbying they can engage in, nonprofits first need to determine how they will measure their lobbying.

View information and resources provided by the Network.

Public Health Law Research (PHLR)

In a Critical Opportunities presentation at the Public Health Law Research Conference, Michelle Mello, M.D., Ph.D., made the case for raising the tobacco purchasing age to 21. The policy, she argues, will reduce minors’ tobacco use by 50 percent, thereby preventing 10 million people from becoming daily smokers and avoiding 3 million premature deaths.

Watch video of the Critical Opportunities presentation.

O’Neill Institute Summer Programs on Public Health Law

The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University will present two programs this summer: Emerging Issues in Food and Drug Law and U.S. Health Reform – The Affordable Care Act. Taking place in July, the programs will convene leading practitioners, policy-makers, advocates and academics for a series of interactive lectures, panel discussions and case studies.

Learn more about the O’Neill Institute Summer Programs.

National Public Health Week

April 7 – 13 is National Public Health Week, focusing on the themes of maternal health, school nutrition, food safety, emergency preparedness, among others. Throughout this week, the Network will be highlighting the ways laws and policies have impacted these public health areas. Don’t miss out: Like the Network’s Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

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