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The Boston Globe
Hepatitis C drug costs leave many without care
Twenty years ago, Larry Day learned two dangerous viruses were circulating in his body, HIV and hepatitis C. Both infections came from needles shared during his years as an injecting drug user. Only one caused him big problems: hepatitis C. That virus destroyed his kidneys, an uncommon complication. Over time, he knew, hepatitis C could lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer. So when drugs came on the market promising to cure him, Day — by then free of illicit drugs — was eager to give them a try. But his Medicaid insurance plan said no. He could get the drugs only if his liver was damaged, and his liver was still in good shape...Robert Greenwald
, faculty director of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, in February led a class-action lawsuit against the state of Washington, asserting its Medicaid program was illegally rationing hepatitis C drugs. In Massachusetts, he has written MassHealth officials asking to collaborate on ways to make the drugs more available. But state officials have rebuffed him, because, he said, they don’t want to admit “that it’s all about costs....They know that’s not a legitimate grounds on which to deny people treatment.” Greenwald called the state’s approach baffling. The state, he said, pays $10,000 a year to keep a person with HIV healthy for decades, but balks at a one-time $40,000 payment to cure someone of hepatitis C.
The New York Times
‘Hamilton’ and History: Are They in Sync?
As “Hamilton” fever has swept America, historians have hardly been immune....But even among historians who love the musical and its multiethnic cast, a question has also quietly simmered: does “Hamilton” really get Hamilton right?...Annette Gordon-Reed
, a professor of history and law at Harvard and the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of “The Hemingses of Monticello,” put it more bluntly. “One of the most interesting things about the ‘Hamilton’ phenomenon,” she wrote last week on the blog of the National Council on Public History, “is just how little serious criticism the play has received.”...Ms. Gordon-Reed — who is credited with breaking down the resistance among historians to the claim that Thomas Jefferson had a sexual relationship with Sally Hemings — wrote in her response that she shared some of Ms. Monteiro’s qualms, even as she loved the musical and listened to the cast album every day. “Imagine ‘Hamilton’ with white actors,” she wrote. “Would the rosy view of the founding era grate?”
The New York Times
Arms Control Groups Urge Human Control of Robot Weaponry
Two international arms control groups on Monday issued a report that called for maintaining human control over a new generation of weapons that are increasingly capable of targeting and attacking without the involvement of people. The report
, which came from Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic at the opening of a weeklong United Nations meeting on autonomous weapons in Geneva, potentially challenges an emerging United States military strategy that will count on technology advantages and increasingly depend on weapons systems that blend humans and machines...The ability to recall a weapon may be a crucial point in any ban on autonomous weapons, said Bonnie Docherty
, the author of the report and a lecturer on law and senior clinical instructor at the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School. Weapons specialists said the exact capabilities of systems like L.R.A.S.M. are often protected as classified information. “We urge states to provide more information on specific technology so the international community can better judge what type and level of control should be required,” Ms. Docherty said.
The Real Issues Behind Getting Into College
If you’ve crammed for the SATs, agonized over creative essay topics, or pestered teachers for recommendations, then you know something about our college admissions process. Namely, that it is very stressful and very complicated. But there are critics who say it’s more than just stressful. It’s totally wrong, and it’s hurting America. Lani Guinier
is one of those critics - and she wants a complete redesign: “It has its benefits, but it also has stakes that eliminate the option, or the opportunity, for many working class whites, low-income blacks, to even consider going to these higher education schools.” Guinier is the author of The Tyranny of the Meritocracy and a professor at Harvard Law School.
The Real Reason Women Still Get Paid Less
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein.
When it comes to discrimination, Americans pride ourselves on how far we’ve come. Racial segregation is history. Explicit sex discrimination is banned. Same-sex marriage is the law of the land. But amidst all the progress, the male-female wage gap persists, and it’s big. A new essay by Cornell economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn offers by far the most comprehensive and illuminating discussion to date of that gap. They find that for every dollar earned by a man working full time, women working full time earn about 79 cents. More alarming, the gap hasn’t closed much since 1990. Sex discrimination is probably a big part of the explanation.
Campus Dissidents Win in Court While Losing
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
In an important decision on the rights of campus dissidents, a U.S. appeals court has held that free speech protections won’t excuse acts of harassment. But it also held that a student who has been disciplined can sue the university if the punishment was for expressing political views. The two parts of the ruling last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit cut in opposite directions. The first will encourage administrators; the second will hearten student activists. But the more important win is for the activists, who can get a day in court after being disciplined under university procedures that are often opaque.
U.S. Plans to Curb Tax ‘Inversions’ Could Hurt Foreign Investment
Planned changes that President Barack Obama says are aimed at ensuring American companies do not avoid tax by shifting their headquarters overseas could also force foreign companies to adopt more conservative U.S. tax-planning strategies..."It, without doubt, significantly changes the rules of the game," said Stephen Shay
, professor of law at Harvard University. "In the old days you bought and then you levered up as much as you can and that is not going to happen in the same way, but how much of a constraint that becomes is unclear," he added.
Court Tells States to Leave Google Alone
An op-ed by Noah Feldman.
Google just scored a win by losing a Mississippi case. On the surface, a Friday ruling by a federal appeals court appears to support a campaign by that state’s attorney general to hold the Internet titan accountable for copyright infringement. Look again. On a close reading, the court’s opinion is promising for Google and doesn’t bode well for Attorney General James Hood III’s aggressive enforcement actions. The company had initially lucked into a very sympathetic federal district court judge who issued an injunction to block the attorney general. Now, by ruling against Google and reversing the injunction, the more cautiously sympathetic U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has set the lower court right.
New Report Calls for Ban on ‘Killer Robots’ Amid UN Meeting
Technology allowing a pre-programmed robot to shoot to kill, or a tank to fire at a target with no human involvement, is only years away, experts say. A new report called Monday for a ban on such "killer robots."..."Machines have long served as instruments of war, but historically humans have directed how they are used," said Bonnie Docherty
, senior arms division researcher at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. "Now there is a real threat that humans would relinquish their control and delegate life-and-death decisions to machines."
The Harvard Crimson
Modern ‘Measure’ Measures Up
“Say what you can, my false o’erweighs your true,” thunders Angelo (Brian A. Cami ’19), deputy to the Duke of Vienna, in one of the many moments of “Measure for Measure” that remains darkly pertinent centuries after the Shakespeare play was first performed. In Hyperion Shakespeare Company’s production, running April 8 to 16 at the Loeb Experimental Theater, Angelo wears a business suit; the target of his sinister sexual advances, Isabella (Eliza B. Mantz ’18), dons a similarly contemporary costume; and their meeting takes place in a modern office, lit like a film noir...Critics usually classify “Measure for Measure” as one of Shakespeare’s “problem plays.” Its tone veers wildly from political drama to slapstick farce, sometimes in the same scene, as it follows one of the Bard’s most convoluted plots. Put simply, after years of not enforcing Vienna’s vice laws, Duke Vincentio (Patrick J. Witt
, a second-year Harvard Law student) leaves the government in Angelo’s hands, believing he will be better able to crack down on the city’s debauchery, and goes undercover as a friar.