The American health care system is on a glide path toward ruin. Medical spending is rising at an unsustainable rate: it is on track to reach 30 percent of gross domestic product (“GDP”) a quarter century from now and half of GDP within seventy-five years. The number of Americans without health insurance is approaching fifty million, and surging unemployment could push this figure much higher. Most of the care that patients receive is of unproven value, and up to one hundred thousand Americans die prematurely each year from medical mistakes. So it is for good reason that health reform has returned to the top of the nation’s political agenda. A decade and a half after the collapse of President Clinton’s health reform plan, Americans are again pressing for relief from soaring costs and telling pollsters and politicians that they want medical care for all. The main difference, this time, is that the problems have grown much worse.

Should the law recognize an individual’s right not to be a genetic parent when genetic parenthood does not carry with it legal or gestational parenthood? If so, should we allow individuals to waive that right in advance, either by contract or a less formal means? How should the law’s treatment of gestational and legal parenthood inform these questions? Developments in reproductive technology have brought these questions to the fore, most prominently in the preembryo disposition cases a number of courts have confronted—disputes over the use of stored frozen preembryos that couples have fertilized in the course of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)— but other examples abound.

This bibliography serves as the 2002-2005 update to Gerontology and the Law: A Selected Annotated Bibliography. First published in 1980 by Law Library Journal, the bibliography has since been updated seven times between 1982 and 2001 in the Southern California Law Review. The original bibliography and the first five updates provide citations to a variety of books, articles, and other law related materials on various aspects of the law and gerontology. Starting with the sixth update, the style and content of the bibliography was changed in two ways: first, the bibliographers took a more selective approach in choosing resources to include and second, the bibliographers added descriptive annotations briefly describing the source after each citation.

On August 24, 2006, after years of scientific research and politically charged debate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) approved an application for over-the-counter (“OTC”) status for Plan B, a type of emergency contraception (“EC”) previously available only by prescription. This FDA decision came more than two years after the agency’s much criticized denial of Plan B’s OTC application in 2004. The primary criticism of the 2004 denial was that it appeared reproductive politics were interfering in the FDA’s usual scientific process. Finally science won out, however, and in August 2006, the FDA announced that Plan B’s application for OTC status would be approved for “consumers 18 years and older.” The drug will remain prescription-only for girls under eighteen years of age.

While the FDA’s approval of Plan B’s OTC application will ease access to the drug for women eighteen and older, a significant and pervasive obstacle remains for women of all ages. Although a prescription will no longer be required for those women to obtain Plan B, the medication will be available only from behind a pharmacy counter, leaving the decision of whether to dispense the drug in the hands of the pharmacist on duty. This obstacle may seem innocuous, but the reality is far different.

No matter how much fascination it may provide to the lives of the lonely, the curious, the adventurous, or the ordinary, it is undeniable that pornography poses problems. This statement is not startling or revolutionary; no other industry has unfailingly produced equal parts astounding revenue, excitement, shame, and fear among every echelon of society. For decades, the adult film industry has operated a thriving worldwide empire centered in Southern California, generating billions of dollars in revenue and producing thousands of films per year. Notwithstanding its status as one of the largest industries in a heavily regulated state, the adult film industry has flourished for decades without a discernible trace of government oversight. In recent years, however, a particularly insidious problem within the industry has perched itself precariously at the threshold of the public consciousness and has threatened to end the government’s historical indifference toward the industry’s practices.

The landmark Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), which President Bill Clinton signed into law on August 21, 1996, was enacted in response to advances in information technology and their dramatic impact on the health care industry. Until recently, most medical records were paper-based, but technological developments have made it increasingly efficient to collect, retain, transmit, and exchange health care data. Title II of HIPAA includes the Administrative Simplification provisions, which mandate the promulgation and adoption of national standards for electronic transactions, thereby encouraging the use of electronic data systems.

Twenty-five years ago, federal courts opened the door to the biotechnology revolution by granting patents on genetic inventions. Since that time, decisions across five disparate doctrines reflect confusion over the question of whether the definition of a biotechnology invention should include things beyond the state of the art at the time of the invention. Reaching beyond the state of the art may make sense for mechanical inventions, but it is wreaking havoc in doctrines related to biotechnology.

This Article argues that in uncertain arts such as biotechnology, the definition of an invention should be limited to the state of the art at the time of the invention. Granting rights beyond knowledge at the time of the invention projects an enormous shadow across the future and creates untenable results. The temptation to restrain that reach has led to strange doctrinal twists and an unworkable body of law. After twenty-five years of experience, it is time to rethink our view of the proper shape of rights in this realm.

The powerful morbidity and mortality effects of diet combined with growing concern about the obesity “epidemic” have led public health scholars and public interest advocates to call for taxes on food. 3 The proposals fall into two different categories. First, there are “junk food taxes” on less nutritious foods such as soft drinks, candy, or snack foods. Second, there are more ambitious taxes that would apply to a much broader range of foods and food components.

Stem cells present an intriguing dilemma. They tantalize with their boundless medical potential, but challenge with equally limitless questions about their ethical consequences. If not for this ethical challenge, the question of federal funding for stem cells would be simple: How much funding and to whom? Instead, ethical objections, closely related to other highly controversial political issues, sweep stem cell policy into a political vortex. In recent years, this storm has reduced science’s role in the equation – transforming the issue from a tangible question of science and technology into an abstract debate setting ethical catastrophes against as yet undiscovered miracle cures. Given the political firestorm, government actors have treaded carefully, implementing halfway measures and justifying them by obscuring portions of the real debate from the public. The resultant policy, culminating in President George W. Bush’s August 2001 limitation on federal funding to existing stem cell lines, is driven by a blend of outdated legislation and imperfect institutional arrangements – a combination that, admittedly, handicaps the nation’s ability to explore the potential benefits of human embryonic stem cells (“hES”). More importantly, the policy fails to address the fundamental problem that purportedly justifies its existence: the ability to control the issue’s controversial ethical dilemmas.