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College of Law set to offer course on health-care reform

BY ARIANA WITT | APRIL 15, 2010 7:30 AM

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Second-year University of Iowa College of Law student Ned Brasington wants to know more about the recent health-care reform legislation.

So he’s going to take a class at the UIabout it.

“I’m interested in learning about the specifics,” Brasington said. “As a future lawyer, this is something I should know about.”

Brasington hopes a new course in the law school, which will focus on analyzing the recently signed health-care law, will further his understanding of the social reform.

Though many provisions of the law won’t become relevant for months or years, the UI College of Law plans to teach and test students on the lengthy statute starting this fall.

The new class, titled “The Innovation, Business, and Law Colloquium: Health Care Reform Act,” will be offered to 40 law students in the fall semester. Classes will feature perspectives from many health-care and legal experts across the UI campus, law Professor Herbert Hovenkamp said.

Additionally, he said, students will hear from a handful of national experts, with David Ortenlicher — a visiting professor from the University of Indiana — as their primary instructor.

“This is probably the single most important piece of social legislation adopted since Medicare,” said Sheldon Kurtz, a UI law professor who will teach a portion of the class. “Given our commitment to law, it was very worthy.”

Instructors said the course material will be very practical for students after graduation.

“Lawyers in the health-care field will spend years learning this law and advising clients about it,” Kurtz said.

Taking a class such as this could help law students in those related fields, he said.

Brasington, the son of a rheumatologist and an optometrist, said he is sure the class will help him in the future.

“It’s definitely something I would want to put on my résumé,” he said.

Jennifer Wang, a second-year law student who is interested in reproductive health care, said she’ll consider the course before turning in her preregistration form later this week.

“This is a very dense, complicated legislation, but I think students should take an interest in health law,” Wang said.

Law students can choose to take the Thursday class for two or three semester hour credits.

Hovenkamp said every legal concern will be discussed in the semester-long course, including poverty, economics, and public-health law as well as the pending lawsuits filed by some states against the federal government.

“Students should expect a fair amount of reading of the bill and cases related,” Hovenkamp said.

Though the statute contains more than 2,000 pages, Kurtz said, students will likely be responsible for reading the less extensive 70-page summary.

Still, Kurtz said he thinks it’s important for students to have a complete copy of the law.

The printing tab for those 2,000 pages? Approximately $200, according to Kurtz.

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