Public Health Law and Policy Perspectives

Impact of King v. Burwell Ruling on Health Reform

In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court today upheld the Affordable Care Act's health insurance subsidies for middle- and low-income adults who purchased coverage through the federal marketplace. The high court accepted the Obama administration's argument that the ACA allows federal tax credits to be issued to people who buy health plans through a federally run exchange. Plaintiffs had argued that only customers of state-run exchanges can receive the tax credits. The case went before the Supreme Court in March, and many feared an estimated 6.4 million Americans would lose subsidies for health coverage.

The Doctor Will Video Chat with You Now: Keeping Up with Evolving Telehealth Laws and Policies

Telehealth is quickly advancing as a way to improve access to health services, reduce healthcare costs, and ensure disease control surveillance through methods such as video directly observed therapy. In many ways, the technology is outpacing laws and policies that govern our health system, but there are resources available to help those in public health keep up with telehealth’s emergence.

Preventing Nicotine Poisoning in Children and Youth

Nicotine is an acute toxin that can cause vomiting, seizures, respiratory failure, and death if consumed in even a small dose. With the increase in the use of electronic cigarettes, there has been a corresponding increase in the number of child poisonings caused by the ingestion of liquid nicotine, or e-liquid. In response, many state and local governments are addressing this issue through laws that require child-resistant packaging and appropriate labeling of e-liquid containers.

Updated Resource

Emergency Declaration Authorities

The authority to declare an emergency can vary across states, tribal government and localities. A declaration can determine the legal and operational resources available to respond to an emergency. This updated table provides statutory and regulatory authorities for emergency declarations in all 50 states.

Upcoming Webinar

Radiological Legal Preparedness: Considerations, Research and Lessons Learned

As the use of radiation has increased in the 21st century, so has the potential for a national radiological incident requiring a public health response. Over the past several decades, state and local health departments throughout the United States have developed plans and procedures to better respond to and recover from potential releases of radioactive material. This webinar, co-sponsored by the Network and the CDC’s Public Health Law Program, aims to examine state and local legal authorities related to preparedness for and recovery from radiation incidents. This webinar takes place on July 23 at 12:30p.m. ET.

Ask the Experts

Regulation of Open Burning

“Open burning,” the practice of burning refuse – often trash, leaves, or scrap wood – in the open air, is a common method of disposal but can have serious consequences for environmental safety and the public’s health. The Network was contacted by an Indiana county health officer for information on regulation of open burning in other jurisdictions, or model laws about open burning bans. The Network researched the issue and provided the requestor with a number of resources.

Public Health Law Research

Engaging Law Enforcement in Overdose Reversal Initiatives

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, found law enforcement officers can be authorized to administer naloxone, an overdose reversing drug, through a variety of mechanisms. Currently, more than 220 law enforcement agencies in 24 states carry naloxone. The study also found the liability risks related to naloxone administration to be similar to or lower than those of other activities in which law enforcement officers commonly engage.

Trust for America’s Health Policy Report

The Facts Hurt: A State-by-State Injury Prevention Policy Report

Trust for America’s Health recently released its 2015 report on states' efforts in injury prevention. Among other things, the report found that drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury deaths in the U.S. at nearly 44,000 per year, and now exceed motor vehicle-related deaths in 26 states and Washington D.C. The report lists the mandatory use of data from prescription drug monitoring programs and naloxone access laws as indicators of evidence-based strategies that help prevent drug overdoses.

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