MASSDEVICE ON CALL — A panel of federal appellate judges heard arguments yesterday regarding President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul to determine whether the administration can constitutionally require citizens to buy health insurance.
During 90 minutes of oral arguments, the three-member panel of judges gave both the administration and its challengers a mixed reception.
Two judges on the three-member panel were appointed by Republican presidents.
Judge Jeffrey Sutton, appointed by George W. Bush, was skeptical of the administration’s defense that the insurance mandate was justified by the excessive costs that uninsured citizens pose on the rest of society. "It’s just not proper to make people buy things—that’s the point," Sutton said.
But Sutton was also wary of arguments made by the law’s challengers, who argued that Congress was inappropriately using its interstate commerce power to regulate people who choose not to participate in the health insurance market. He suggested that a citizen’s choice to skip insurance was an economic decision and may be subject to federal regulation.
District Court Judge James Graham, also a GOP-appointee, expressed concern over the added authority that the reforms grant the federal government.
Boyce Martin Jr., the Carter-appointed third member of the panel, appeared more favorable to the administration’s position, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The judges also questioned the validity of the plaintiff’s claims to injury. One of the lead plaintiffs, Jann DeMars of Michigan, initially claimed she was being economically burdened by the prospect of having to buy insurance. Last week she revealed that she recently obtained employer-provided insurance.
This is the second challenge to the health care law to reach an appellate hearing.
Is the FDA holding back innovation?
A survey of more than 350 professionals found that two-thirds of small medical device companies are obtaining European approvals for their medical devices prior to seeking clearance in the U.S.
The FDA is to blame by making the product too unpredictable, according to Researchers at Northwestern University.
About two-thirds of those surveyed said it was "uncertain or unclear" what was required in a particular 510(k) submission, and about 72 percent said information asked by FDA reviewers went beyond necessary requirementsthe Star Tribune reported.
Dems and GOP bounce back and forth on Medicare rhetoric
When President Obama discussed cutting the Medicare budget in 2010, he argued that the cuts would make Medicare more solvent and reduce the country’s deficit.
In response, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) urged citizens to stand against cuts that would "limit access to doctors" and "further weaken the program."
Fast-forward to today, and Boehner’s support of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis) Medicare voucher program and Obama’s attacks on it verge on direct contradiction to their previous remarks.
Flip-flopping rhetoric isn’t anything new in politics, but the brazenness with which it occurs in regard to health care reform has amazed even long-time Washington heads, Healthwatch reports.
NovaShunt changes name to Sequana Medical
Zurich, Switzerland.-based NovaShunt AG launched a new corporate identity as Sequana Medical AG in preparation for the launch of the ALFApump system in Europe.
"Now is an ideal time to transition to a new company name, having just completed a $25 million USD Series B financing round and as we prepare for our first product launch," said CEO Noel Johnson.
Saliva tests can detect CMV infections in newborns
A simple saliva test can quickly and effectively screen newborns for cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, a leading cause of hearing loss in children, according to researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
CMV is the most common infection passed from a mother to her unborn child, and most infected babies don’t show symptoms at birth. Of the 20,000-30,000 infants who are born infected with CMV each year, roughly 10-15 percent are at risk for developing hearing loss, according to the study.
"It’s important for us to develop diagnostic tools to screen babies for congenital CMV infection so that those who test positive can be monitored for possible hearing loss and, if it occurs, provided with appropriate intervention as soon as possible," said Dr. James Battey, director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, part of the National Institutes of Health, which funded the study.