Tag: public policy

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The Crisis of Our Era: Can we find a way to talk about it?

So much of the fate of our planet, the human race, and all of God’s creatures depends on humans having an objective, causal understanding of the pressing problems we face and then, on that basis, developing some reasonably effective practical means by which those threats can be ameliorated—it’s called, using human intelligence and being connected to reality, at least reality with a small “r”, as in empirical reality. Just think of the causes of threats such as climate change, transmittable diseases and drug resistant viruses, gun violence, drug abuse, hunger, unemployment, poverty, lack of healthcare coverage, and on and on. Without reasonably sound knowledge of the causes of these threat humans are rendered helpless and vulnerable. And even with sound knowledge, without a practical, yes political, means, in the form of sound public policy, of collective action, to ameliorate them, we are cannot take meaningful action, and are still rendered helpless and vulnerable. Currently, in the United States there is vast disagreement not only over how best to formulate policy solutions to some our most pressing problems, there is often no agreement over how to understand the problem or even whether or not a problem exists. Climate change and gun control are two prominent examples. 

The fact that climate change is real and greatly accelerated by human activity is a fact about which there is clear scientific evidence. Practically all scientific societies, science academies, and governmental and intergovernmental agencies, are in complete agreement, which means the evidence for this empirical claim being true is about as compelling as anything we know about the natural phenomena.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

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April 2017 Newsletter

Global Bioethics Initiative (GBI) is dedicated to fostering public awareness and understanding of bioethical issues, and to exploring solutions to bioethical challenges.
Through its events and activities, which include annual summer schools on global bioethics, GBI seeks to keep the international community, policy decision-makers, the media, and the general public aware of important bioethical issues which is essential for making informed decisions and fostering public debate. Using various platforms, we at GBI are able to promote our motto “Doing bioethics in real life!”.
GBI is an active member of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) and enjoys a special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, the UN’s central platform for debate, reflection, and innovative thinking on sustainable development. Check out our website here.
Send your abstract now for our unique conference on aging!
New York City | June 19-30, 2017
Summer School Call for Applications:
Global Bioethics, Human Rights & Public Policy
 2015-2016 Testimonials here!
Click on APPLY NOW!

Who can apply?

Everyone from high school seniors, university students

 to professionals worldwide!
 Partial Scholarships for low-income country residents
 
Deadline: May 1, 2017
Graduate Certificates and CMEs are available

Registration fees are 100% tax deductible

 Students can intern with us (see link here)
as well as attend the summer program
Please consider forwarding to students, 
professionals and friends!
Contact Ana Lita | 777 UN Plaza, 5th FloorNew York, NY 10017

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

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Wendy Parmet on ‘The Week in Health Law’ Podcast

By Nicolas Terry and Frank Pasquale Subscribe to TWIHL here! Our return guest this week is Wendy Parmet, Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law, Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Director of the Program on Health Policy and Law, and Associate Dean for … Continue reading

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

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Interview with Arthur Caplan

by Kaitlynd Hiller and Rachel F. Bloom

It is a difficult task to succinctly describe the professional accomplishments of Arthur Caplan, PhD. For the uninitiated, Dr. Caplan is perhaps the most prominent voice in the conversation between bioethicists and the general public, as well as being a prolific writer and academic. He is currently the Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics at NYU Langone Medical Center and NYU School of Medicine, having founded the Division of Bioethics there in 2012. Additionally, he co-founded the NYU Sports and Society Program, where he currently serves as Dean, and heads the ethics program for NYU’s Global Institute for Public Health. Prior to joining NYU, he created the Center for Bioethics and Department of Medical Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, serving as the Sidney D. Caplan Professor of Bioethics. Dr. Caplan is a Hastings Center fellow, also holding fellowships at The New York Academy of Medicine, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American College of Legal Medicine. He received the lifetime achievement award of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities in 2016.

Dr. Caplan’s experience is not at all limited to the academic realm: he has served on numerous advisory counsels at the national and international level, and is an ethics advisor for organizations tackling issues from synthetic biology to world health to compassionate care. Dr. Caplan has been awarded the McGovern Medal of the American Medical Writers Association, the Franklin Award from the City of Philadelphia, the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics, the Public Service Award from the National Science Foundation, and the Rare Impact Award from the National Organization for Rare Disorders; he also holds seven honorary degrees.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

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Mailbag

Brief comments on four short articles from this week, on disparate topics:

James Capretta of the American Enterprise Institute (meaning he is politically right of center) pleads in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) for compromise between Republicans and Democrats on further healthcare policy reform.  Arguing that the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) may never pass, he believes that a better result politically and for public policy would be if legislators could, in essence, split the difference between the AHCA and current law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka “Obamacare”) on some points where he sees some agreements in principle.  He proposes: 1) a hybrid approach between the ACA’s income-based tax credits for health insurance purchase and the AHCA’s age-based approach; 2) ensuring continuous insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions by modifying the ACA’s penalties for not being insured to fall more heavily on higher-income people; 3) setting limits on the favorable tax treatment of employer-paid health insurance premiums; 4) automatically enrolling uninsured people into a bare-bones, no-premium plan from which they could opt out in favor of re-enrollment in a different plan (a proposal that sounds to me a lot like the Democrats’ “public option” with a guaranteed fight over scope of coverage); and 5) limiting Medicaid expansion to tie it to reform of the program (something that sounds to me a lot like what I understand is currently in the AHCA).  Mr. Capretta knows a lot more about health policy than I, and has been at it a lot longer. 

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

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Ethics, sexuality, and dementia in long-term care

Alisa Grigorovich and Pia Kontos suggest that long-term care residents with dementia can benefit from leisure and social activities that are supportive of sexual expression and the formation of intimate and romantic relationships.

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Recently, media stories on dementia have focused on the sexualities of persons living with dementia in residential long-term care settings, such as nursing homes. This media attention has been predominantly negative, consisting of descriptions of sexual violence, and apocalyptic warnings of the legal, ethical, and moral dangers of allowing persons with dementia to express their sexuality.

Often the primary criterion used to determine whether sexual encounters between residents with dementia are involuntary is the cognitive ability of the female resident. Frequently, she is characterized as globally incapable of agreeing to sexual activity because of cognitive impairment.

Consider, for example, the now infamous case of Henry Rayhons. He was accused (and ultimately acquitted) of sexually assaulting his wife who had dementia. As well, there is the lawsuit filed in a case involving two residents with dementia who had intercourse while living in Windmill Manor. While such stories highlight the importance of protecting vulnerable persons from sexual abuse, they ignore the need to also ensure that persons with dementia have opportunities to pursue intimate and romantic relationships.

Sexual expression is a universal human need that transcends age and disability. It has many positive health and wellness benefits, including the opportunity to experience pleasure, decreased pain sensitivity, and increased relaxation. However, older persons living in nursing homes often experience reduced sexual freedom.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

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Increasing Access to Biosimilar Drugs

The development of ‘specialty drugs’
in the health care industry has created legal, ethical, and public policy
issues because patients are not able to get access to their prescribed
medications based on the expense.  Specialty
drugs are usually biologicals, treat serious conditions, and  are very expensive with no cheap
alternatives.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

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40th Annual Health Law Professors Conference

If you teach health law, come to the 40th Annual Health Law Professors Conference, June 8-10, 2017, at Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta.  Here is the schedule:


Thursday, June 8, 2017
8:00-12:00 AM Tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Separate registration is required. Participants meet in the lobby of Georgia State Law to take a shuttle to the CDC.)


9:45 – 11:15 AM Tour of Grady Health System (Separate registration is required. Participants meet in the lobby of Georgia State Law and will walk over to Grady as a group.)


2:00 – 5:00 PM Conference Registration – Henson Atrium, Georgia State Law


3:00 – 5:00 PM Jay Healey Teaching Session – Knowles Conference Center, Georgia State Law
Experiential Teaching and Learning in Health Law
The format for this session is World Café roundtables, with plenty of opportunity for the collegial exchange of teaching ideas and insights among your colleagues. Come prepared for a lively, interactive workshop.
World Café Hosts:
Dayna Matthew, University of Colorado Law School
Charity Scott, Georgia State University College of Law
Sidney Watson, Saint Louis University School of Law
Invited Discussants and Participants:
Rodney Adams, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Health Administration
Christina Juris Bennett, University of Oklahoma College of Law
Amy Campbell, University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
Michael Campbell, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law
Erin Fuse Brown, Georgia State University College of Law
Cynthia Ho, Loyola University of Chicago School of Law
Danielle Pelfrey Duryea, University of Buffalo School of Law, State University of New York
Jennifer Mantel, University of Houston Law Center
Elizabeth McCuskey, University of Toledo College of Law
Laura McNally-Levine, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Jennifer Oliva, West Virginia University College of Law and School of Public Health
Thaddeus Pope, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Lauren Roth, St.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

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Next Up: A Proposal for Values-Based Law Reform on Unilateral Withholding and Withdrawal of Potentially Life-Sustaining Treatment

Jocelyn Downie

The latest issue (54:3) of the Alberta Law Review is a special issue on health law.  


I plan to read several of the articles and already read this one:  “Next Up: A Proposal for Values-Based Law Reform on Unilateral Withholding and Withdrawal of Potentially Life-Sustaining Treatment.”


The unilateral withholding and withdrawal of potentially life-sustaining treatment presents a complex issue of law and public policy.  Jocelyn Downie, Lindy Willmott, and Ben White examine the current state of this practice and conclude that it is occurring, being challenged in the courts, and is treated differently in different jurisdictions. 


Downie, Willmott & White review the current state of the law in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada. The authors use Canada as a case study to outline a process for pursuing law reform. The authors propose a model for law and policy reform in this area that is both informed and shaped by the fundamental values of Canadian society.


Ultimately, the authors argue that physicians should NOT have unilateral authority to limit life-sustaining treatment.  Nicely, their vocabulary maps that in the 2015 ATS multi-society statement.  


I have had the pleasure of working with Downie, Willmott and White before and look forward to seeing them later this year in Halifax at the Second International Conference On End Of Life Law, Ethics, Policy, And Practice.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

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Texas ‘Wrongful Birth’ Legislation

On March 21st, the Texas Senate passed SB 25, which eliminates “wrongful birth” as a cause of action for malpractice suits.  The text of the bill states, “A cause of action may not arise, and damages may not be awarded, on behalf of any person, based on the claim that but for the act or omission of another, a person would not have been permitted to have been born alive but would have been aborted. […]  This section may not be construed to eliminate any duty of a physician or other health care practitioner under any other applicable law.”

The bill’s supporters contend that the legislation “reverses a decades-old injustice and bad public policy that devalues babies, both unborn and born, who have a disability,” and removes pressure that physicians may feel to recommend abortions in order to preempt lawsuits.

However, opponents of the bill argue that it gives physicians the clearance to lie to patients about fetal health to prevent them from having an abortion. One activist argues that the legislation provides physicians the “opportunity to impose the religious beliefs on pregnant women by withholding information about the condition of their fetus and depriving them of making an informed decision about continuing with their pregnancy.”  The text of the bill, however, clearly precludes such a scenario.

In overturning wrongful birth precedent, this bill recognizes and defends the dignity of individuals with disabilities from the morally backwards concept of “wrongful birth.”

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.