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Daily Rounds: Supreme Court Nail-Biter; Stem Cell Shutdown; Calorie Conundrum; Oxycontin Patent Fight

This article is more than 7 years old.

Awaiting Ruling On Fairly Simple Questions About A Complex Health Law (The New York Times) — First, and perhaps above all, did Congress overstep its powers when it passed the “individual mandate” requiring virtually all Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty? If a majority finds that it did, the most prominent feature of the law will be overturned. Second, if the justices strike down the mandate, what other parts of the law are so closely tied to its centerpiece that they must also fall... Third, does the court even have the standing to consider the mandate now? The justices could deem the penalty tied to the mandate to be a tax and announce that it is too early to decide the mandate’s fate, because the first penalties will not be due until 2015. An obscure statute, the Anti-Injunction Act, holds that challenges to taxes are barred until they are due....Finally, did a major part of the bill separate from the mandate — an expansion of Medicaid, covering millions of additional lower-income people — amount to federal coercion? As part of the change, Congress increased aid to states but also said that their existing Medicaid financing would be at risk if the states did not accept their new obligations."

UMass Stem Cell Lab To Close (The Boston Globe) — "The stem cell bank that was a marquee piece of Governor Deval Patrick’s effort to bolster the life sciences industry will run out of funding at the end of the year and close, state and University of Massachusetts Medical School officials said Wednesday. The state invested $8.6 million in public funds to establish the bank at the medical school’s Shrewsbury campus."

It's not just how many calories, but what kind, study finds (LA Times ) — "In an intensive, seven-month experiment during which 21 overweight men and women had their diets strictly controlled down to each last morsel, researchers showed that a traditional low-fat diet seemed to make the metabolism more sluggish than a high-protein one during the most difficult part of weight loss: keeping fat off once it's shed... In a nutshell, "from a metabolic perspective, all calories are not alike," said study senior author Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Children's Hospital Boston. "The quality of the calories going in affects the quantity of the calories going out."

Oxycontin Maker Guards Exclusivity (Wall Street Journal) — "OxyContin is set to go off patent next year, but the maker of the powerful and widely abused prescription painkiller is trying to extend its exclusive rights to the drug, arguing that a new version it spent $100 million to develop might substantially curtail abuse. Whether Purdue Pharma LP will be able to protect its reformulated OxyContin will be decided by the courts. The company has 16 patent-infringement lawsuits pending against 10 generic-drug manufacturers, including Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd."

This program aired on June 28, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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