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State Lawmakers Target Vaccine Makers and Mandates, Abortion Pill Lawsuits in NC and WV & More

January 27, 2023 (3 min read)

Flurry of Bills Targeting Vaccine Makers and Mandates:

Already this year lawmakers in 18 states have introduced over 80 measures dealing with vaccine policy, according to Dorit Reiss, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law. Most of the legislation was introduced by conservative lawmakers and is targeted at those who make or mandate vaccines.

Measures introduced in at least 10 states would restrict or prohibit employers, schools or other public entities from requiring vaccines. Several measures have also been introduced that would make vaccine manufacturers liable for adverse effects resulting from their products. A pair of bills introduced by Arkansas Sen. Bryan King (R)—SB 7 and SB 8—would make drug company executives criminally liable for such harm. (PLURIBUS NEWS, STATE NET)

Abortion Pill Lawsuits Begin in NC and WV:

A pair of lawsuits targeting laws in North Carolina and West Virginia that restrict or ban the use of abortion medications got underway last week. Abortion pills have become a new front in the ongoing battle over reproductive rights, with over a dozen states having imposed restrictions on the use of such medications. (POLITICO)

MA Aims to Reduce Inequity in Healthcare System:

A group called the Health Quality Compact, made up of minority leaders from organizations including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Point32Health, Massachusetts’ second-biggest health insurer, has filed legislation addressing racial and ethnic inequities in the state’s healthcare system. Among other things the bill would expand MassHealth coverage to those of any immigration status, require providers to meet standards for cultural relevance and reduce the cost of medications for treating diseases that heavily impact minority and low-income populations. (BOSTON GLOBE)

TN to End HIV Program Linked to Planned Parenthood:

The Tennessee Department of Health announced last week that it will stop accepting federal funding for the testing, prevention and treatment of HIV in June and rely solely on state funding going forward. The news comes two months after the agency reportedly informed Planned Parenthood that it was cutting off the organization’s HIV prevention grants and the state was ending its partnership with the organization for providing HIV testing. Planned Parenthood said Gov. Bill Lee’s (R) administration was using the “nuclear option” to distance itself from the organization because of its long history of providing and supporting abortion care. (ASSOCIATED PRESS, NBC NEWS)

WV Senate Passes Rape Kit Training Requirement for Hospitals:

The West Virginia Senate passed a bill (SB 89) last week that would require hospitals with emergency rooms to have staff available to perform forensic examinations for victims of sexual assault 24 hours a day. The bill would also require that staff to receive training from the Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Commission by July 2024. Sen. Michael Maroney (R) said the measure would be “a mandate on nurse training during probably the worst nursing shortage in our state’s history,” but it can’t wait because right now sexual assault victims sometimes must travel hours to find someone qualified to conduct such examinations. (ASSOCIATED PRESS, STATE NET)

CT Lawmakers to Address Healthcare Worker Shortage:

Leaders of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Public Health Committee pledged last week to deal with the state’s healthcare worker shortage. Possible remedies include mandating staffing ratios for nurses, barring hospitals from utilizing mandatory overtime and boosting recruitment and retention efforts. (CONNECTICUT MIRROR)

Medical Malpractice Claims Boosted Up to 11% by Social Inflation:

An actuarial analysis commissioned by medical malpractice insurer The Doctors Co. found that social inflation—insurance claim cost growth due to factors other than inflation, such as the expansion of class-action lawsuits—makes up 8% to 11% of total medical malpractice losses for insurers that cover physicians. The estimate from Moore Actuarial Consulting was based on medical liability insurer annual statements filed between 2006 and 2021. (INSURANCE JOURNAL)

—Compiled by KOREY CLARK


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