The Supreme Court last week decided to take up cases involving three not-for-profit hospital systems being sued for underfunding their employee pension plans. Lower courts ruled against the organizations—Advocate Health Care Network, Dignity Health and St. Peter's Healthcare System—saying their pensions do not qualify as “church plans” exempt from the law. That could force them and other hospitals to spend billions to make up funding shortfalls. The systems say federal agencies for years have assured them that they are exempt. The high court in September temporarily blocked the most recent ruling against Dignity from taking effect.
Johnson & Johnson and its DePuy Orthopaedics unit will have to pay more than $1 billion to six plaintiffs who said they were injured by Pinnacle hip implants. A federal jury in Dallas found that the hip implants were defectively designed, and that the companies did not flag the risks. The six plaintiffs are California residents who were implanted with the hip devices and experienced tissue death, bone erosion and other injuries they attributed to design flaws. Johnson & Johnson and DePuy are facing nearly 8,400 Pinnacle-related lawsuits, which have been consolidated in a Texas federal court.
Though more than a quarter of people surveyed after the election want to see the Affordable Care Act repealed or sharply scaled back, 30% want to see the law expanded and 19% want the law to remain as is, according to a report released last week by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Among those who want the law repealed, 38% changed their mind after hearing that repealing the ACA would allow insurers to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Another 19% of those who wanted to see the law repealed changed their opinion after hearing that more than 20 million Americans could lose their coverage. The poll captured a slight increase in the share of Americans who want changes in the law and a decrease in the number of people who want lawmakers to repeal the entire law.