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Reforming Federal Public Health Powers: Responding to National and Global Threats

Published time: 28 March 2017

Authors: Lawrence O. Gostin, J.D., James G. Hodge Jr, J.D., L.L.M.


On January 19, 2017, the day before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a final rule on communicable diseases. The new rule enhances federal powers to detect, test, apprehend, quarantine, and isolate international and domestic travelers while expanding due process safeguards. Although public health powers should be grounded in science, they also invoke fundamental values of personal liberty and privacy. A decade-long process of modernizing federal rules has been mired in controversy.



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