2017’s Word Of The Year In Health Law And Bioethics: Uncertainty image

Health Affairs, December 8, 2017
Carmel Shachar (Executive Director) and I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)

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Note: This post is the first in a series of Health Affairs posts from the Sixth Annual Health Law Year in P/Review event, held at Harvard Law School on Tuesday, December 12, 2017. 

2017 was a year of tremendous uncertainty for many areas of public policy. Health care policy was no exception, most prominently with an almost successful push by Congressional Republicans to radically revise the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Medical research and bioethics also faced uncertainty, with the struggle to ethically engage with new technologies and to better understand the boundaries around self-determination. As we look over the past year and anticipate the coming one, the overarching question remains: Is it possible to run a health law and health care system given this level of flux?

This question, among others, will be explored in the Sixth Annual Health Law Year in P/Review event to be held at Harvard Law School on December 12, 2017. The conference, which is free and open to the public, brings together leading experts to review major developments in health law over the previous year and preview what is to come. The discussion at this day-long event will cover hot topics in such areas as health policy under the new administration, regulatory issues in clinical research, law at the end-of-life, patient rights and advocacy, pharmaceutical policy, reproductive health, and public health law. 

Health Care Policy In Flux

2017 saw a new presidential administration and Congress. Seeking to capitalize on the Republican control of the White House and both Houses of Congress, Congressional Republicans sought to make good on their campaign promise to “replace and repeal” the ACA. The proposedlegislation would have dramatically reshaped our health care landscape, including ending Medicaid’s financial status as an entitlement program, and undercutting the health insurance Marketplaces championed by the Obama administration. Despite the fact that the ACA is not yet a decade old, this would have been a seismic shift in the way many Americans receive their health care. [...]

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bioethics carmel shachar health law policy i. glenn cohen regulation