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Health Law Guide   Tags: anti-kickback, compliance, health, regulation, stark law  

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is Health Law?

Public health law is the field of laws and policies that are designed to assure healthy conditions for individuals. Public health law also concerns the powers and limitations on federal, state, tribal, and local governments to act in the interests of communal health.  

Federal Legislation

South Dakota Statutes


A Brief Glimpse at Some Landmark Cases in Public Health Law

Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905)

- Police power may be used to require vaccination or other health initiatives when exercised in conformity with due process and other individual rights. This is a seminal case on the balance between public health powers and individual rights. 

Schuringa v. City of Chicago, 198 N.E.2d 326 (Illinois 1964)

- Artificial fluoridation of water is reasonably related to the public health, and program of fluoridation of the Chicago water supply was within city's police power as necessary and suitable for protection of the public health.

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)

-Texas criminal abortion statutes prohibiting abortions at any stage of pregnancy except to save the life of the mother are unconstitutional; that prior to approximately the end of the first trimester the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician.

Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973)

-Held that Georgia laws requiring that abortions be conducted in hospitals, or accredited hospitals, requiring the interposition of a hospital abortion committee, requiring confirmation by other physicians, and limiting abortion to Georgia residents, are unconstitutional

DeShaney v. Winnebago Cnty. Dep’t of Soc. Serv., 489 U.S. 189 (1989)

- A child was abused by his father while under the supervision of a child welfare agency. The court held that the injury was not a violation of the child's right to liberty under the Due Process clause. In most cases, the government is not required to ensure the health of specific individuals and generally not even the public. 

National Fed. of Ind. Bus. v. Sebelius, 132 S. Ct. 2566 (2012)

 -Congress' power to tax is sufficiently broad to justify the mandate in the Affordable Care Act that all individuals purchase health insurance. 


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