Health Care Law

Photo of an emergency hospitalHealth care law does apply to you, and for important reasons. Let’s first begin with health care in the United States.

You can think of health care law as the body of statutes, laws, and codes that regulate health care, as described above. Health care laws are implemented at both the Federal and state levels, and like employment law, Federal health care laws preempt (override) state laws that they come into conflict with. However, the Federal Government cedes primary responsibility to the states under the McCarran-Ferguson Act.

Health Care Agencies

Federal Agencies:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

o   Oversees various federal agencies involved in health care.

  • U.S. Public Health Service

o   The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC) employs more than 6,000 health professionals for the purpose of delivering public health promotions, disease preventative promotions, and advancing public health science.

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

o   Responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices (ERED), cosmetics, and veterinary products.

State Governments:

States usually maintain state health departments, and local governments often have their own health departments. Local governments would include counties and municipalities, and usually these are branches of the state health department.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

When you think of health care these days, you probably think of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare”. The ACA was enacted with the goals of increasing the quality and affordability of health insurance. The ACA also sought to lower the uninsured rate by expanding public and private insurance coverage.

Key Features:

  • Insurers prohibited from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions.
  • Minimum standards for health insurance policies.
  • All individuals not covered by an employer, Medicaid, Medicare or other public insurance program must secure an approved private-insurance policy or pay a penalty.
  • Health insurance exchanges.
  • Medicaid eligibility expanded.
  • Medicare payment system reformed.
  • Employer Mandate

o   Businesses that employ 50 or more people but do not offer health insurance to their full-time employees will pay a tax penalty if the government has subsidized a full-time employee’s healthcare through tax deductions or other means.

Why You Need a Health Care Lawyer

Navigating the field of health care law can be just as confusing as employment law. Coincidentally, both are very related, and it is not uncommon to end up dealing with both issues. You may also need an attorney to assist with your health care directives, in case you are incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself.

Health care issues can also lead to debilitating conditions, employment termination, and loss of income. Such factors can easily lead to thoughts of bankruptcy for many. To preclude yourself from the worst scenarios, it is best to find a qualified lawyer in your area and set up an initial consultation.

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