ASLME Member Nicole Huberfeld is the Ashland-Spears Distinguished Research Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Kentucky College of Law and Bioethics Associate at the College of Medicine. In the fall of 2016, Huberfeld and co-authors Kevin Outterson and Elizabeth Weeks published The Law of American Health Care. We interviewed Prof. Huberfeld to find out more about the new book and her experience with the Society.
1. How did you first get involved with ASLME?
In 2001, John Jacobi and I coauthored a JLME article. Not long after, I was fortunate to become the first Health Law Faculty Fellow at Seton Hall Law School and my terrific mentors urged me to become an ASLME member when I started the fellowship in 2003. They then encouraged me to participate in my first Health Law Teachers Conference in June 2004. I have enjoyed ASLME membership and the Health Law Professors Conference ever since!
2. Can you tell our readers about your book The Law of American Health Care and why it’s important?
This is the first new health care law casebook in a generation. In writing this book with Kevin Outterson and Elizabeth Weeks, the goal was to rethink the classic themes and topics but also to streamline, focus on primary sources, and reorganize the historic common law, state-based approach to reflect the dominance of federal, statutory, and administrative law in the modern era. Thus, our book emphasizes time-tested themes of federalism, individual rights, fiduciary relationships, the modern administrative state, and market regulation. These new themes help students to move through the highly topical, layered, and complex world of health care law so that they not only learn the law as it exists but also understand when, how, and why it changes. We also wanted the book to be digestible ‘as is’ while allowing for supplementation as the instructor sees fit. To that end, we eliminated the numbered notes format in favor of clear connective narrative and carefully selected excerpts of case law as well as statutes, regulations, sub-regulatory authority, and other authorities on which health care lawyers typically rely. Health care law is largely an applied field, and one that is stubbornly topical and changeable, which makes our new themes important teaching tools as well as an important future knowledge acquisition tool for students.
3. What professional accomplishment are you the most proud of?
Hearing from students that they have found their passion in health law from taking my courses. Being a lawyer is incredibly demanding work, and the best match for that demand is fueling our inner fire with working in a field that matters. It is humbling and gratifying that students often discover their calling in my classroom.
4. What projects are you currently working on?
I have been engaged in a long term, co-authored, semi-empirical project regarding the federalism dynamics of the implementation of the ACA. Like much ACA-related scholarship, it will likely require some reworking given the stated intentions of the newly elected president and his cohort in Congress. But, federalism is a key health law and policy move, and it is important to understand how federalism and health policy choices can work both in harmony and at odds with one another. My plan is also to coauthor the first new book in decades on health care federalism. I suspect a second edition of The Law of American Health Care will soon be in the works as well.