Top health law cases to watch in 2022

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People gather outside the Supreme Court building on the day of the submissions hearing in the Mississippi Dobbs v. Abortion rights case. Jackson Women’s Health in Washington, USA on December 1, 2021. REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst

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(Reuters) – Next year is likely to be an active year for health care law – especially as the United States Supreme Court is on the verge of making important decisions on abortion rights and COVID-19 vaccination warrants. Here are some highlights to watch for in 2022:

SUPREME COURT COULD ELIMINATE LONG-DATE ABORTION RIGHTS

In December pleadings on a Mississippi abortion law, conservative Supreme Court justices signaled their desire to dramatically restrict abortion rights in America. State law, which prohibits abortion from 15 weeks pregnant, has been blocked by lower courts, but Mississippi has asked the nation’s highest court to reactivate it. His 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade established broad abortion rights nationwide. But Judge Brett Kavanaugh, echoing his fellow Conservatives, said during the argument that “the Constitution is neither pro-life nor pro-choice on the issue of abortion, but leaves the problem to the people of States or maybe Congress to resolve it democratically. deal. “If Roe v. Wade is quashed, it will be the achievement of a decades-long goal by anti-abortion activists, made possible by the current Conservative 6-3 majority in court, and would likely make abortion unattainable. in many Republican-ruled states.

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SUPREME COURT TO WEIGH BIDEN’S COVID VACCINE MANDATES

In early January, the High Court will hear disputes over the Biden administration’s national COVID-19 vaccination or testing mandate for large businesses, and its separate vaccine requirement for healthcare workers. The workplace mandate is currently in effect nationwide, while healthcare worker mandates are blocked in half of America’s 50 states. The decision could be important in setting limits on the power of the federal government to impose public health measures.

DRUGS FACE DISPUTES OVER THE PRICE OF INSULIN

Drugmakers Eli Lilly and Co, Novo Nordisk Inc and Sanofi-Aventis US LLC and the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit managers – the OptumRx Inc unit of United Health Group, Caremark LLC and CVS Health Corp’s Express Scripts Inc – are faced with claims from drug buyers inflating the price of insulin-based drugs, essential in the treatment of diabetes. Claims in 2021 have survived dismissal motions, paving the way for an escalation of the legal battle over the coming year. Insulin has come under intense scrutiny in recent years amid a growing chorus of denouncing high drug prices. The three insulin makers were highlighted in a Congressional report earlier this month, which found that drugmakers have targeted the U.S. market for disproportionate profits from older drugs.

FTC SEEKS TO CANCEL ILLUMINA AND GRAIL FUSION

U.S. Federal Trade Commission Seeks to Unwrap Life Sciences Company Illumina Inc’s $ 7.1 Billion Acquisition of Cancer Test Detection Company Grail Inc in Administrative Litigation , in which a lawsuit took place in 2021. Antitrust lawyers are closely following the FTC lawsuit as a rare application. action against a “vertical” merger in which two companies are not direct competitors. This could represent an aggressive new approach to merger review under the Biden administration, especially in the healthcare arena.

US GOVERNMENT CONTINUES OVERBILLING CLAIMS AGAINST PERMANENT KAISER

California’s Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health care systems, is facing whistleblower claims that it is routinely overcharging Medicare. These claims gained momentum in 2021, when the federal government decided to intervene in six whistleblower lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act. As well as being unusually large, with potential damages of $ 1 billion or more, the case highlights private Medicare Advantage plans, which critics say encourage overcharging. Government says doctors at Kaiser Permanente were forced to submit diagnostic codes that increased so-called patient risk scores, used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to calculate payments to Medicare Advantage plans .

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