Houston Harbaugh, P.C.
Houston Harbaugh, P.C.

Three Gateway Center
401 Liberty Ave.
22nd Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222-1005

Fax: 412-281-4499
Map & Directions

Houston Harbaugh Blog

Health Care Law Archives

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Rescinds Marijuana Enforcement Guidance

In early January 2018, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the long-standing Obama-era guidance regarding the Department of Justice's (DOJ) treatment of the marijuana industry. In a series of memoranda dating back to 2009, Deputy Attorney Generals David W. Ogden and James M. Cole had established national guidance listing eight key areas of marijuana enforcement for federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies. Federal law enforcement personnel were directed to focus their resources on persons and organizations that interfered with these priorities. Notably, the use of medical marijuana was not included in the list of enforcement priorities. The memoranda stated that federal marijuana enforcement should not focus on individuals whose actions are in "clear and unambiguous compliance" with existing state laws providing for the use of medical marijuana, and that pursuing prosecution of individuals with serious illnesses and their caretakers is "unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources." 

New Health Care Non-Discrimination Rules Go Into Effect on October 16, 2016

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination in health care and health coverage on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex. It applies to all health programs that receive federal dollars such as Medicare and Medicaid. Although consistent in many ways with civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination in other settings, Section 1557 contains some unique provisions. For example, "sex discrimination" under Section 1557 includes discrimination based on gender identity in health care. This is the first time that a federal law prohibits discrimination of this type in patient care. In addition, Section 1557 and its accompanying regulations create a new focus on national origin discrimination by highlighting the language barriers that individuals with limited English proficiency may face. Under Section 1557, providers must take steps to give individuals with limited English proficiency meaningful access to health care. This includes offering those in need of language assistance with written translations and interpreter services when requested.