(LAWA-4027) - 2 UNITS

This course details the regulation of health insurance companies with a focus on the changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more popularly known as Obamacare, as well as potential legislative changes and/or replacements to the ACA currently being debated in Congress. Although the ACA is federal legislation, its implementation is reliant on the states, and state law applying to health insurers is still very much in effect and relevant. Such a federal-state model is also likely in any legislative replacement to the ACA. This course will address the interplay between California and federal health law in the creation and implementation of a federal scheme that promises affordable and meaningful health care. By way of example, the course will consider whether new laws and legislative proposals succeed in improving access for groups historically excluded from the private health insurance market (such as chronically ill patients, including those with HIV and mental health conditions). You will learn about the cost containment strategies used by insurance companies (such as narrow networks and high deductibles), as well as other insurer practices that may run afoul of federal or state consumer access and privacy protections. Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to think critically about the role of politics in health insurance law, the effectiveness of federal and state regulatory agencies charged with enforcement, and the tension that can arise when trying to balance access, quality, and cost goals. You will also gain insights into how health policy is formulated, evaluated and assessed prior to being voted into law. Whether you are interested in pursuing a transactional/corporate, civil litigation, public interest, or more policy-oriented career path, this course provides a useful foundation for learning about the health care system and insurance regulation.