Samuel Alito on Health Care
Supreme Court Justice (nominated by Pres. George W. Bush 2005)
ALITO: This is obviously one of the most sensitive issues that comes up in our legal system. And with the advances in medical technology, this is going to be a very tough issue for an awful lot of people. In the Cruzan case, the court assumed that there is a constitutional right to refuse medical treatment that a person doesnít want. If somebody gives you medical treatment and you say I donít want it, and they perform an operation on you, thatís a battery under the common law and you can be sued. And then in Washington v. Glucksberg, they addressed the issue of whether there was a constitutional right to assisted suicide, and they concluded that there was not. But they recognized that these were issues that were on the cutting edge of medical technology, on which more empirical evidence might become relevant in the future.
A 5-4 Court decided that federal jurisdiction does not extend to controversies over insurance contracts under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act. Thus, state courts are the proper venue for contract disputes arising between federal employees and insurance companies, which may result in inconsistent outcomes across states.
Empire Healthchoice Assurance sued the estate of a deceased federal employee who received $157,000 in insurance benefits as the result of an injury. The wife of this federal employee had won $3.2 million in a separate lawsuit; Empire Healthchoice claimed reimbursement because the beneficiary was compensated for the same injury by a third party.
Plaintiffs were prescribed a brand name drug for which pharmacists substituted a generic drug, which the FDA had approved under the process federal law authorized for generics. Plaintiffs were diagnosed with a disorder linked to the extended use of the drug. They filed state tort law claims against the manufacturers of the generics, alleging failures to label their products with a warning of known risks. The generics carried the same warnings as the brand name and, the manufacturers argued, since federal regulations required the generics to have the same warnings as the brand name, compliance with a state law requiring different warnings was impossible.
|Other Justices on Health Care:||Samuel Alito on other issues:|
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Sandra Day O'Connor
John Paul Stevens
Natural Law Platform