- U.S. Surgeon General’s office, WHO campaign against vaping, e-cigarettes. Lessons of harm reduction forgotten [Jacob Sullum, Jonathan Adler, Todd Krainin]
- Plenty of other hospitals are willing to do this surgery. Catholic facilities should have conscience right to refuse [AP/NJ.com on St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center case, Stephen Miller/IGF]
- Study: states with stronger physician protection from malpractice suits had lower usage of imaging tests [Radiology Business on Suhui Li et al., Journal of the American College of Radiology]
- Hospitals that require employees to take flu shots to protect patients and others may pay dearly if they’re stingy with the religious exemptions [Jon Hyman]
- “Maybe For-Profit Hospitals Aren’t So Bad” [Shailin Thomas, Harvard “Bill of Health”]
- “New Study Finds 90% of California Pharmaceutical Plaintiffs are from Other States” [U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform on Mark Behrens study for CJAC]
- U.K.: “People who have 2 or 3 drinks a night will be sent for liver scans under plans to crack down on ‘heavy drinking'” [Katie Gibbons, The Times via Christopher Snowdon, who comments: “The line between healthcare and punishment begins to blur.”]
- Why was Sofia Vergara sued in Louisiana? It’s the only state that accords status to an embryo as “juridical person” [Naomi Cahn, Concurring Opinions]
- Scope-of-practice restrictions for certified nurse midwives primarily serve as barriers to practice rather than having effect on health outcomes [Charles Hughes, Cato]
- Has veterinary care in US avoided the upward cost pressures of (human) health care, as is often claimed? Maybe not [Arnold Kling]
- “New Zealand to compensate organ donors” [Alex Tabarrok, Ilya Somin] Federal fisc could save billions in dialysis outlays by adopting reforms along similar lines [Sally Satel, Forbes]
- Hospital takes baby to wrong mom for nursing, upwards of $50,000 balm sought [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
- “You’ve been warned. National-origin discrimination is a national strategic priority for the EEOC.” [Jon Hyman, earlier]
- 2015 charge statistics: “The EEOC has now re-calibrated its entire enforcement machinery to churn out quick cost-of-defense settlements.” [Merrily Archer]
- “Death by HR: EEOC Incompetence and the Coming Idiocracy” [Jeb Kinnison]
- Liquor-hauling case aside, EEOC accommodation claims on behalf of Muslim complainants closely resemble those for members of other religious groups [Eugene Volokh]
- “No Evidence That Training Prevents Harassment, Finds EEOC Task Force” [Christina Folz, SHRM]
- Hospital that requires employees to announce ahead of time if they have religious objections to flu vaccination hit with EEOC charge for not being accommodating enough [EEOC press release]
- “The IRS warned Obama it was illegal to pay ObamaCare subsidies to insurance companies.” They went ahead anyway. [The Week, Paul Caron/TaxProf]
- Medical liability payouts back on rise after decade of decline; of top ten states per capita, all are in Northeast except New Mexico (6th) and Illinois (8th) [New Jersey Civil Justice Institute]
- “Why isn’t there more telemedicine?” [Austin Frakt, NYT via Tyler Cowen]
- Would Prince have fared better had law allowed easier access to anti-addiction drug buprenorphine? [Jeb Kinnison]
- Down memory lane: how advocacy foundations funded Elizabeth Warren’s research on medical bankruptcy [Jon Henke]
- Ways to get cheaper pharmaceuticals through competition rather than regulation [Charles Hooper and David Henderson, Regulation magazine (Cato), more from Henderson]
In a previous round, Steve Lubet challenged Alice Goffman’s much-praised book on urban criminal justice, On the Run, on many grounds. Among them was Goffman’s portrayal of Philadelphia police as routinely arresting men with outstanding warrants who showed up at city hospitals to seek ordinary medical care or visit expectant mothers or other family members. Now, in the wake of coverage in the New York Times Magazine, Lubet is back with two more posts (so far) explaining why he sees no good evidence for the claim. Paul Campos contributes a pair of new posts skeptical toward other aspects of the book. Earlier here and, on the book more generally, here.
It’s a familiar libertarian insight that regulation often holds government itself to lower standards than it does private actors. Pension funds for public employees are mostly immune from the federal solvency and funding requirements that apply to their private counterparts; Federal Trade Commission rules against false advertising by private companies do not restrain false advertising by government actors on the same topics; the FTC can fine companies massively for data breaches even as the federal government itself suffers gigantic losses of sensitive data to foreign actors with few, if any, visible career consequences for those who had dozed; anticompetitive practices per se illegal under antitrust law become legal when the states engage in them, and so on and so forth.
Now David Konisky of Indiana University and Manuel Teodoro of Texas A&M, in a study published by the American Journal of Political Science entitled “When Governments Regulate Governments,” have taken a look at some data:
Our empirical subjects are public and private entities’ compliance with the U.S. Clean Air Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. We find that, compared with private firms, governments violate these laws significantly more frequently and are less likely to be penalized for violations.
For the study, Konisky and Teodoro examined records from 2000 to 2011 for power plants and hospitals regulated under the Clean Air Act and from 2010 to 2013 for water utilities regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The study included over 3,000 power plants, over 1,000 hospitals and over 4,200 water utilities — some privately owned and others owned by public agencies.
* For power plants and hospitals, public facilities were on average 9 percent more likely to be out of compliance with Clean Air Act regulations and 20 percent more likely to have committed high-priority violations.
* For water utilities, public facilities had on average 14 percent more Safe Drinking Water Act health violations and were 29 percent more likely to commit monitoring violations.
* Public power plants and hospitals that violated the Clean Air Act were 1 percent less likely than private-sector violators to receive a punitive sanction and 20 percent less likely to be fined.
*Public water utilities that violated Safe Drinking Water Act standards were 3 percent less likely than investor-owned utilities to receive formal enforcement actions.
[After speculating that public operators may find it harder to raise funds promptly for needed facilities improvements:] Public entities also face lower costs for violating the regulations, the authors argue. There is evidence from other studies that they are able to delay or avoid paying fines when penalties are assessed. And officials with regulatory agencies may be sympathetic to violations by public entities, because they understand the difficulty of securing resources in the public sector.
- “Embattled Broward Health paid law firm $10.2 million; tab included a lawyer’s M&Ms” [Miami Herald]
- “Journalists were not very interested in the areas of vaccine policy that are actually debatable. They just wanted to find fools and laugh at them.” [Matt Welch]
- Wider access to pharmaceutically based drug rehabilitation may be sound policy. But is it compelled by the ADA? [Huffington Post via @sbagen]
- Kamala Harris carries water for the SEIU in a hospital deal, and Californians are the losers [John Cochrane]
- Drug case: “Hagens Berman argument ‘gives new meaning to frivolous,’ judge says; sanctions imposed” [ABA Journal]
- California: Kaiser Permanente “ordered to pay woman more than $28 million” [L.A. Times]
- “Bacteria can evolve. So can McDonald’s. Maybe federal policymakers can as well, before it’s too late.” [Steve Chapman]
- King v. Burwell: next ObamaCare showdown at Supreme Court [Ilya Shapiro and Josh Blackman, David Bernstein on Cato brief, Adler v. Bagley Federalist video, Michael Greve with theory of Justice Kennedy riding off to Colorado with Dagny, earlier]
- “J&J says women being illegally solicited to join in mesh lawsuits” [Jessica Dye/Reuters, same on lawyers’ response, more on which]
- Invoking ACA, feds regulate non-profit hospitals to require periodic community needs assessment, limit collection methods [Treasury]
- Unless judges are vigilant, lawyers will take advantage of mass tort joinder to evade CAFA limits on forum-shopping [Steven Boranian, Drug & Device Law]
- Popular literature on IRBs/consent of research subjects can employ dubious definitions of “coercion” [Simon Whitney via Zachary Schrag]
- Qui tam lawyers vs. pharmaceutical companies, some empirical findings [Bill of Health]
- So that’s what “anatomical theatre” means: researcher checks into ostensible open-source medical journals and finds many “had suspicious addresses; one was actually inside a strip club.” [Fast Company on report finding that fake paper was accepted for publication by 17 journals]
- A student of David Henderson’s recalls the state of medicine under the Soviets: assignment to providers based on place of residence; the role of gifts, favors, and clout; how idealistic doctors became cynics; the black market as a safety valve. [EconLog]
- More on effort to blame federal budget cuts for Ebola [Chris Edwards chart at Cato; Nick Gillespie, Reason; Michael Tanner, earlier] How Firestone, rare multinational firm with a large presence in Liberia, fought the disease [NPR] More: Heck of a job, Nicole: administration already has Ebola czar [Mollie Hemingway]
- Train wreck postponed: “Administration Delays Home-Care Worker Minimum-Wage, Overtime Protections” [Kaiser Health News, earlier here, here, etc.; California will not delay]
- “Should it be OK to fire employee for using medical marijuana?” [Debra Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle/syndicated, and thanks for quote; Jacob Sullum on Colorado “any lawful activity” statute]
- Venture capital interest dwindles in cardiac and orthopedic medical device sectors amid concerns over regulatory hassle, tax, reimbursement problems [WSJ (also Avalon), Arnold Kling]
- Billing code for “repeat doctor visit after being sucked into jet engine” probably little-used [Lowering the Bar, and surprise sequel]
- British ambulance workers’ strike will hit scheduled patient visits rather than emergencies, so that’s okay [BBC]
- Does Takings Clause, in combination with unconstitutional-conditions doctrine, require feds to compensate hospitals for EMTALA emergency-treatment mandate? [Haavi Morreim, Regulation, PDF] EMTALA, disability discrimination, and claimed “dumping” of psychiatric patients [Alison Somin on Gail Heriot dissent]
- ObamaCare challenge: D.C. Circuit vacates Halbig decision for en banc rehearing [Roger Pilon, earlier]
- ACLU and SEIU California affiliates oppose trial lawyers’ higher-damages-plus-drug-testing Proposition 46 [No On 46, earlier] As does Sacramento Bee in an editorial;
- Rethinking the use of patient restraints in hospitals [Ravi Parikh, Atlantic; legal fears not mentioned, however]
- Certificate of need regulation: “I didn’t know the state of Illinois had a standard for the maximum permissible size of a hospital room.” [John Cochrane]
- In China, according to a study by Benjamin Liebman of Columbia Law School, hired malpractice mobs “consistently extract more money from hospitals than legal proceedings do” [Christopher Beam, The New Yorker]
- Overview of (private-lawyer-driven) municipal suits on painkiller marketing [John Schwartz, New York Times, earlier] More: Chicago’s contingency deal with Cohen Milstein on opioid lawsuit [LNL] More: Rob Green, Abnormal Use.
- “So In The End, The VA Was Rewarded, Not Punished” [Coyote]