MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Federal judges yesterday got a chance to question the Virginia’s arguments for overturning the health care reform law.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit yesterday considered two rulings from Virginia district courts, one upholding the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and another ruling it unconstitutional.
In the hearing, the three appellate judges scrutinized what gives the Old Dominion state "standing," or the right to initiate its suit against the federal government, reported The Wall Street Journal.
The three judges on the panel were chosen randomly by a computer program, but all are Democratic appointees, with two named by President Barack Obama and one by President Bill Clinton, the publication reported.
The cases are among the 31 challenges to President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Nine have made it to the appeals stage, on a journey likely to culminate in October when the next U.S. Supreme Court session begins. Another nine are still pending in various states’ district courts.
Early next month the next case, one upholding the law, is set to hit the appeals circuit in Cincinnati, with another soon to follow in Atlanta reviewing a Florida judge’s call that the entire law is unconstitutional, according to The New York Times.
Meanwhile, a new report supports health reform’s benefits to women. The PPACA could help women gain access to affordable health insurance, a service that they are finding more and more difficult to come by, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund.
The report said 27 million women went without insurance in 2010, but that health care reform should offer them a chance to get coverage by 2014 when the law is fully implemented. Among the issues the law addresses: coverage for preventive and maternal health and a ban on gender rating for premiums, reports The Hill.
"COURAGE" not heeded by cardiologists. Doctors often don’t prescribe the best drug treatments to stable patients with clogged heart arteries before the patients are implanted with stents, even though a four-year-old clinical trial showed this was a cheaper option that didn’t pose major risks, writes The Wall Street Journal.
"The COURAGE trial, announced with great fanfare in 2007, showed giving drugs and counseling to people with stable coronary artery disease was just as effective in reducing heart attacks, strokes and early death as subjecting patients to balloon angioplasty and inserting stents…" wrote health care journalist Merrill Goozner.
"This depressing survey [published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association] confirms that for many physicians, medicine remains an evidence-free zone. The authors call for ‘innovations in . . . improving the translation of clinical evidence into practice,’" he wrote.
Tapped-out NMT Medical to auction assets. A sealed bid sale of NMT Medical Inc.’s intellectual property will take place Friday, June 10 at noon, according to a statement from the accounting firm acting as the troubled cardiac device maker’s custodian. The company last month announced it would liquidate its assets as an alternative to formal bankruptcy.
Thoratec aims to develop wirelessly powered cardiac device. Thoratec Corp. (NSDQ:THOR) signed a development pact with Watertown, Mass.-based WiTricity Corp. for wireless power supply technology for implanted cardiac devices. Under the deal, Thoratec will provide funding to WiTricity to optimize its technology for use in a fully implantable HeartMate II system, according to the company.
Through a collaboration over the last nine months, Thoratec and WiTricity engineers showed the ability to transfer power wirelessly to Thoratec’s HeartMate II LVAD in order to start and run the pump device in a setting that replicates its Fully Implantable Ventricular Assist System (FILVAS) application, the company said. WiTricity recently landed a multi-million-dollar investment from Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE:TM) to develop a wireless car charging platform.