Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


Kavanaugh Nominated to Serve as 114th Supreme Court Justice

President Trump announced his decision last week to nominate Brett Kavanaugh to fill the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kavanaugh is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Kavanaugh has significant health-law experience. While serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals, he has dealt with provider-payer issues, access to contraception, the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and questions surrounding abortion for an illegal immigrant in federal custody. He has written recent two opinions dealing with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and substantial equivalence. Kavanaugh has also been involved with cases regarding generic drug approvals and drug exclusivity. The President’s announcement commences a confirmation battle that could potentially shape the ideology of the nation’s highest court for the next several decades.

Without any defections, Republicans have the votes to confirm Kavanaugh. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to oppose the nomination, warning that the President’s choice will put reproductive rights and health care protections “on the judicial chopping block.” Schumer has also suggested the President’s nominee has an obligation to share his personal views on legal issues.

Kavanaugh began meeting with senators last week. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) were the only Democrats to vote in support of Trump’s 2017 Supreme Court nominee. All are grappling with difficult reelection races in November. Sen. Manchin stated that he is evaluating Kavanaugh’s record, particularly in regard to health care. Meanwhile, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are facing pressure from the left to protect reproductive rights and vote against the nomination. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has also expressed reservations about Kavanaugh. Only four Democrats supported Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the D.C. Circuit during the Bush administration. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is the only one still serving in the Senate.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear a number of fraud and patent cases involving drug and device manufacturers in its 2018 term, which begins in October.

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