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King V Burwell: Subsidizing Us Health Insurance For Low- And Middle-Income Individuals, Lawrence O. Gostin, Mary C. Debartolo, Daniel Hougendobler Jul 2015

King V Burwell: Subsidizing Us Health Insurance For Low- And Middle-Income Individuals, Lawrence O. Gostin, Mary C. Debartolo, Daniel Hougendobler

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In King v. Burwell, the U.S. Supreme Court once again saved the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by upholding subsidies (tax credits) offered to low- and middle-income individuals for insurance bought on federal exchanges. A contrary opinion would have put at risk health insurance for 6.4 million Americans and threatened to destabilize insurance markets for millions more.

The ACA is supported by four interlocking reforms, each of which are necessary to realize its promise of expanding health care coverage: (1) guaranteed issue (prohibiting discrimination based on pre-existing conditions), (2) community rating (barring insurers from imposing higher premiums based on ...


Public Health, Universal Health Coverage, And Sustainable Development Goals: Can They Coexist?, Harald Schmidt, Lawrence O. Gostin, Ezekiel Emanuel Jun 2015

Public Health, Universal Health Coverage, And Sustainable Development Goals: Can They Coexist?, Harald Schmidt, Lawrence O. Gostin, Ezekiel Emanuel

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

In her 2012 reconfirmation speech as WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan asserted: "universal coverage is the single most powerful concept that public health has to offer. It is our ticket to greater efficiency and better quality. It is our savior from the crushing weight of chronic noncommunicable diseases that now engulf the globe ". The UN General Assembly is currently considering proposals for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), succeeding the Millennium Development Goals. SDGs, focusing on health, specifically includes universal health coverage (UHC) among its targets. Unquestionably, UHC is timely and fundamentally important. However, its promotion also entails substantial risks. A narrow ...


Middle East Respiratory Syndrome: A Global Health Challenge, Lawrence O. Gostin, Daniel Lucey Jun 2015

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome: A Global Health Challenge, Lawrence O. Gostin, Daniel Lucey

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Beginning in May 2015, Middle-East respiratory syndrome (MERS) experienced its first publicly reported “super-spreading” event in South Korea. By mid-June, more than 120 cases and 11 deaths in South Korea had been linked to a businessman returning from travel to Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Globally more than 1200 had been infected of whom more than 450 died—a high fatality rate of 37%.

What are the most effective legal, social, and public health responses to MERS and other emerging diseases? First, the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations (IHR) did not effectively ...


Strengthening The Detection Of And Early Response To Public Health Emergencies: Lessons From The West African Ebola Epidemic, Mark J. Siedner, Lawrence O. Gostin, Hilarie H. Cranmer, John D. Kraemer Mar 2015

Strengthening The Detection Of And Early Response To Public Health Emergencies: Lessons From The West African Ebola Epidemic, Mark J. Siedner, Lawrence O. Gostin, Hilarie H. Cranmer, John D. Kraemer

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Background

In the year since the World Health Organization (WHO) notified of an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, more than 24,000 cases have been reported and over 10,000 individuals have died. Moreover, countless non-Ebola deaths have occurred as a result of health system closings and an international aid effort in the $USD billions has been invested in control efforts. While the international response to the West African Ebola virus disease epidemic eventually exemplified the great potential of the global public health community, the protracted early response also revealed critical gaps, which likely resulted in exacerbation of the epidemic ...


Law, Ethics, And Public Health In The Vaccination Debates: Politics Of The Measles Outbreak, Lawrence O. Gostin Feb 2015

Law, Ethics, And Public Health In The Vaccination Debates: Politics Of The Measles Outbreak, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The measles outbreak of early 2015 is symptomatic of a larger societal problem–the growing number of parents who decide against vaccinating their children. This failure is causing the resurgence of childhood diseases once eliminated from the United States.

This article explores the legal and ethical landscape of vaccine exemptions. While all states require childhood vaccinations, they differ significantly in the types of religious and/or philosophical exemptions permitted, the rigor of the application process, and available review mechanisms. States with relaxed exemption policies disproportionately experience more outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease.

Vaccine exemptions are an illustration of the “tragedy of ...


The Americans With Disabilities Act At 25: The Highest Expression Of American Values, Lawrence O. Gostin Jan 2015

The Americans With Disabilities Act At 25: The Highest Expression Of American Values, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Enacted in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a watershed piece of legislation which enshrines in law a social promise of equality and inclusion into all facets of life, while offering an inspiring model that much of the world has come to embrace. This editorial launches JAMA’s theme issue on the 25th anniversary of the ADA by detailing the Act’s history, main provisions, and far-reaching impacts on health, providing a context for the three Original Investigations and six scholarly Viewpoints that make up the theme issue. The editorial begins with a discussion of the ADA’s ...


Why Healthy Behavior Is The Hard Choice, Lawrence O. Gostin Jan 2015

Why Healthy Behavior Is The Hard Choice, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Our society is structured to encourage unhealthy diets and physically inactive lifestyles, which are key risk factors for chronic diseases including diabetes, heart diseases, and cancers. We are bombarded with advertisements for hyperprocessed foods laden with saturated fat, salt, sugar, and refined carbohydrates, “low-fat” foods often contain high amounts of sugar and salt, and parks and recreation spaces are often inaccessible or unsafe.

Four simple ideas - taxes on unhealthy products, product reformulation, improving the informational environment, and increasing healthy food accessibility - could make healthy behaviors the “default” choice for most consumers. First, taxes on unhealthy products, such as sugary beverages ...


Sexual Assaults Among University Students: Prevention, Support, And Justice, Rebecca B. Reingold, Lawrence O. Gostin Jan 2015

Sexual Assaults Among University Students: Prevention, Support, And Justice, Rebecca B. Reingold, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Sexual assault is common among college-aged women (18 to 25 years), with 1 in 5 reporting having experienced these crimes during their college years. Acute and long-term consequences of sexual assault may include physical trauma, sexually transmitted infections, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and substance abuse. Survivors have the option of reporting assaults to the university or to the police, but the goals of these 2 systems—and women’s experiences with them—can be quite different. The criminal justice system’s principal aim is to adjudicate guilt, but the university has the broader purpose of fostering a safe learning environment ...


Law’S Power To Safeguard Global Health: A Lancet–O’Neill Institute, Georgetown University Commission On Global Health And The Law, Lawrence O. Gostin, John T. Monahan, Mary C. Debartolo, Richard Horton Jan 2015

Law’S Power To Safeguard Global Health: A Lancet–O’Neill Institute, Georgetown University Commission On Global Health And The Law, Lawrence O. Gostin, John T. Monahan, Mary C. Debartolo, Richard Horton

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The law-–global, national, and subnational–-plays a vital, yet often underappreciated, role in safeguarding and promoting the public’s health. In this article, we launch the Lancet-O’Neill Institute, Georgetown University Commission on Global Health and the Law. Commissioners from around the world will explore the critical opportunities and challenges of using law as a tool, while evaluating the evidence base for legal interventions. The Commission aims to define and systematically describe the current landscape of law that affects global health and safety.

Commissioners were chosen from disciplines that range from health, policy, and law to economics and ...


A Retrospective And Prospective Analysis Of The West African Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic: Robust National Health Systems At The Foundation And An Empowered Who At The Apex, Lawrence O. Gostin, Eric A. Friedman Jan 2015

A Retrospective And Prospective Analysis Of The West African Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic: Robust National Health Systems At The Foundation And An Empowered Who At The Apex, Lawrence O. Gostin, Eric A. Friedman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The West African Ebola epidemic is a pivotal moment for the global health system. Just as the depth of the crisis ultimately spurred an unprecedented response, the failures of leadership demand innovative reforms. This analysis offers a template for these reforms, responding to the profound harms posed by fragile national health systems, delays in the international response, deficient resource mobilization, ill-defined responsibilities, and insufficient coordination. The scope of the reforms must address the failures evident in the Ebola response, as well as entrenched weaknesses that enabled the epidemic to reach its heights, transforming the existing inchoate, organically developed global health ...


Indonesia Has It Backward: It's Not E-Cigarettes That's The Problem But Smoking, Lawrence O. Gostin Jan 2015

Indonesia Has It Backward: It's Not E-Cigarettes That's The Problem But Smoking, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Indonesia has announced it will be banning e-cigarettes. But that would do nothing to reduce smoking, which should be the main target of those interested in reducing tobacco use deaths and harms. Rather than ban e-cigarettes, it makes more sense to regulate them effectively so that they can serve as a useful anti-smoking tool. The availability of e-cigarettes to smokers can also make much more aggressive anti-smoking strategies more practically and politically viable-–perhaps even paving the way for banning cigarettes, instead.


An O'Neill Institute Briefing Paper: Ebola, The World Health Organization, And Beyond: Toward A Framework For Global Health Security, Lawrence O. Gostin, Eric A. Friedman, Daniel Hougendobler Jan 2015

An O'Neill Institute Briefing Paper: Ebola, The World Health Organization, And Beyond: Toward A Framework For Global Health Security, Lawrence O. Gostin, Eric A. Friedman, Daniel Hougendobler

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The West African Ebola epidemic has demonstrated that the world remains ill-prepared to respond to infectious disease outbreaks. A host of institutions are now reviewing what went wrong, and new institutions are being considered, including an African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Bank-initiated Pandemic Emergency Facility. The World Health Organization itself failed in one of its core functions by allowing a preventable infectious disease to spiral out of control in the world’s poorest region. The 68th World Health Assembly (WHA), held in May 2015, provided an opportunity for the Organization to reflect on what went wrong ...


The Normative Authority Of The World Health Organization, Lawrence O. Gostin, Devi Sridhar, Daniel Hougendobler Jan 2015

The Normative Authority Of The World Health Organization, Lawrence O. Gostin, Devi Sridhar, Daniel Hougendobler

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The World Health Organization (WHO) was born after the devastation of World War II, as a normative agency endowed with unprecedented constitutional powers. But even as it has achieved stunning successes, such as the eradication of smallpox, it has failed to live up to the exalted expectations of the postwar health and human rights movement e exemplified most recently by its inadequate response to the Ebola epidemic. Our aim is to offer innovative ideas for restoring the Organization to its leadership position by exercising its normative authority, even as it faces a crowded and often chaotic global health architecture. Before ...


Antitrust, Competition Policy, And Inequality, Jonathan B. Baker, Steven C. Salop Jan 2015

Antitrust, Competition Policy, And Inequality, Jonathan B. Baker, Steven C. Salop

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Economic inequality recently has entered the political discourse in a highly visible way. This political impact is not a surprise. As the U.S. economy has begun to recover from the Great Recession since mid-2009, economic growth has effectively been appropriated by those already well off, leaving the median household less well off. The serious economic, political and moral issues raised by inequality can be addressed through a panoply of public policies including competition policy, the focus of this article. The article describes the channels through which market power contributes to inequality, and sets forth a range of possible antitrust ...


Is Military Justice Sentencing On The March? Should It Be? And If So, Where Should It Head? Court-Martial Sentencing Process, Practice, And Issues, James E. Baker Dec 2014

Is Military Justice Sentencing On The March? Should It Be? And If So, Where Should It Head? Court-Martial Sentencing Process, Practice, And Issues, James E. Baker

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

This article starts with a sketch of the military justice system to orient readers. Understanding that structure, the article then describes the sentencing process for special and general courts-martial. The article follows by identifying two core military sentencing questions: First, should commanders have authority to grant clemency? Second, should the military justice system adopt sentencing guidelines? With respect to each topic presented, the article does not attempt to answer the questions nor offer prescriptions. Rather, it seeks to identify the principal fault lines around which debate should, or will likely, fall. The article next presents ‘‘nutshell’’ introductions to additional sentencing ...


The President’S National Security Agenda Curtailing Ebola, Safeguarding The Future, Lawrence O. Gostin, Henry A. Waxman, William Foege Nov 2014

The President’S National Security Agenda Curtailing Ebola, Safeguarding The Future, Lawrence O. Gostin, Henry A. Waxman, William Foege

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

A clear lesson of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is the need for strong public health systems globally, including in the United States. Ebola has highlighted the dangers of weak public health systems, from the immense shortage of health workers in West Africa to the budget cuts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In response to Ebola and the broader threat of infectious disease, President Obama has proposed a $6.2 billion supplemental funding request to Congress. The supplemental would surge resources for containing and treating Ebola in West Africa -- including a reserve of funds ...


Filling In The Blanks On Reducing Tobacco Product Addictiveness In The Fctc Partial Guidelines For Articles 9 & 10, Eric N. Lindblom Nov 2014

Filling In The Blanks On Reducing Tobacco Product Addictiveness In The Fctc Partial Guidelines For Articles 9 & 10, Eric N. Lindblom

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The existing Partial Guidelines for Implementation of Articles 9 & 10 of the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control includes a strategy for regulating tobacco products to reduce their attractiveness, but does not yet provide any guidance for reducing either the toxicity or the addictiveness of tobacco products. Section 1.2.1.2, “Addictiveness (dependence liability),” states only that: “This section has been left blank intentionally to indicate that guidance will be proposed at a later stage.” A related footnote says that the blanks will be filled “as new country experience, and scientific, medical and other evidence become available. . . [and] will ...


Is The United States Prepared For Ebola?, Lawrence O. Gostin, James G. Hodge Jr., Scott Burris Oct 2014

Is The United States Prepared For Ebola?, Lawrence O. Gostin, James G. Hodge Jr., Scott Burris

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The West African Ebola epidemic is a humanitarian crisis and a threat to international security. It is not surprising that isolated cases have emerged in Europe and North America, but a large outbreak in the United States, with its advanced health system, is unlikely. Yet the handling of the first domestically diagnosed Ebola case in Dallas, Texas, raised concerns about national public health preparedness. What were the critical health system vulnerabilities revealed in Dallas, and how can the country respond more effectively to novel diseases in a globalized world?


Ebola: A Crisis In Global Health Leadership, Lawrence O. Gostin, Eric A. Friedman Oct 2014

Ebola: A Crisis In Global Health Leadership, Lawrence O. Gostin, Eric A. Friedman

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

At the core of the present Ebola crisis in West Africa is a lack of global health leadership. WHO should be the global health leader, following its constitutional charge, yet it is significantly under-resourced, having a direct effect on its rapid response capacity. The Organization's response to this crisis has been constantly behind, from low funding appeals to its delay in declaring this outbreak to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern under the binding International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR). The IHR themselves have proven insufficient, as countries have failed to cooperate in building the public health capacities ...


The Ebola Epidemic: A Public Health Emergency Of International Concern, Lawrence O. Gostin, Daniel Lucey, Alexandra Phelan Sep 2014

The Ebola Epidemic: A Public Health Emergency Of International Concern, Lawrence O. Gostin, Daniel Lucey, Alexandra Phelan

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

On August 8, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan declared the West Africa Ebola crises a “public health emergency of international concern,” triggering powers under the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR).

The most affected West African states have attempted classic public health measures with varied success, including quarantine and isolation, social distancing, risk communication, and travel restrictions. These have involved a trade off between population health and human rights; sometimes to the disadvantage of both. At the same time, the countries’ health systems and human resources are fragile, impeding an effective response.

Beyond the public health and ...


The Historic Role Of Boards Of Health In Local Innovation: New York City’S Soda Portion Case, Lawrence O. Gostin, Belinda H. Reeve, Marice Ashe Sep 2014

The Historic Role Of Boards Of Health In Local Innovation: New York City’S Soda Portion Case, Lawrence O. Gostin, Belinda H. Reeve, Marice Ashe

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Childhood and adult obesity pose major risks for cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, with the poor and racial minorities suffering from disproportionately high burdens of obesity and chronic disease. With current policies failing, cities and states have moved forward with creative prevention measures–-with boards of health driving policy innovation in many local jurisdictions. The New York City Board of Board of Health’s (NYCBH) soda portion limit pushed the boundaries of innovation, but was struck down on June 26, 2014 by New York State’s highest court, which held that the Board trespassed on the City Council’s authority ...


Virus Sharing, Genetic Sequencing, And Global Health Security, Lawrence O. Gostin, Alexandra Phelan, Michael A. Stoto, John D. Kraemer, K. Srinath Reddy Sep 2014

Virus Sharing, Genetic Sequencing, And Global Health Security, Lawrence O. Gostin, Alexandra Phelan, Michael A. Stoto, John D. Kraemer, K. Srinath Reddy

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The WHO’s Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework was a milestone global agreement designed to promote the international sharing of biological samples to develop vaccines, while that ensuring poorer countries would have access to those vaccines. Since the PIP Framework was negotiated, scientists have developed the capacity to use genetic sequencing data (GSD) to develop synthetic viruses rapidly for product development of life-saving technologies in a time-sensitive global emergency—threatening to unravel the Framework. Access to GSD may also have major implications for biosecurity, biosafety, and intellectual property (IP).

By rendering the physical transfer of viruses antiquated, GSD may also ...


Delaware Public Benefit Corporations 90 Days Out: Who's Opting In?, Alicia E. Plerhoples Sep 2014

Delaware Public Benefit Corporations 90 Days Out: Who's Opting In?, Alicia E. Plerhoples

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The Delaware legislature recently shocked the sustainable business and social enterprise sector. On August 1, 2013, amendments to the Delaware General Corporation Law became effective, allowing entities to incorporate as a public benefit corporation, a new hybrid corporate form that requires managers to balance shareholders’ financial interests with the besat interests of stakeholders materially affected by the corporation’s conduct, and produce a public benefit. For a state that has long ruled U.S. corporate law and whose judiciary has frequently invoked shareholder primacy, the adoption of the public benefit corporation form has been hailed as a victory by sustainable ...


Ebola: Towards An International Health Systems Fund, Lawrence O. Gostin Sep 2014

Ebola: Towards An International Health Systems Fund, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The current outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa is spiraling out of control, but it never had to happen. What can the international community do now to bring the epidemic under control, and how can we prevent the next one?

The counties most affected by Ebola (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone), rank among the lowest in global development, lacking essential public health infrastructure. If the affected countries had adequate public health systems, they probably would have contained Ebola within rural settings, avoiding the first outbreak in major urban areas.

More than 130 health workers have died from ...


The Aca’S Contraceptive Mandate: Religious Freedom, Women’S Health, And Corporate Personhood, Lawrence O. Gostin Jul 2014

The Aca’S Contraceptive Mandate: Religious Freedom, Women’S Health, And Corporate Personhood, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

On June 30 2014 the Supreme Court decided Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc, in a deeply divided judgment that engaged religious freedom, women’s health, and corporate personhood. Three closely held for-profit organizations challenged the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, objecting to four contraceptive methods that they believe acted as abortifacients, in violation of their Christian beliefs.

The Court held that the contraceptive mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, ruling that the Act’s protections extended to closely held corporations, with the mandate substantially burdening their religious freedoms. The Court acknowledged the federal government’s ...


Healthy Living Needs Global Governance, Lawrence O. Gostin Jul 2014

Healthy Living Needs Global Governance, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the same factors that drive the spread of infectious diseases also contribute to the dominance of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the global burden of disease—urbanization, global markets and harmonized cultures. NCDs have overtaken infectious diseases as the leading cause of morbidity and premature mortality worldwide, with deaths concentrated among the poor due to the growing availability and affordability of highly-processed, unhealthy foods, alcohol and tobacco.

The global response to NCDs has been slow and fractured, with the World Health Organization dedicating scant funding and the United Nations waiting until September 2011 to hold a ...


E-Cigarettes, Vaping, And Youth, Lawrence O. Gostin, Aliza Y. Glasner Jun 2014

E-Cigarettes, Vaping, And Youth, Lawrence O. Gostin, Aliza Y. Glasner

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

E-cigarettes, a relatively new product, storming the tobacco industry are causing a massive stir among public health advocates. While e-cigarettes have the potential to serve as an effective harm reduction tool for existing smokers, they also may present an equally tempting pathway to first time smoking, particularly among youth. Many fear that e-cigarettes will revive the popular smoking culture that has taken decades to dismantle.

In April 2014, the FDA issued proposed rules to “deem” or extend its authority over tobacco products to regulate electronic cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, nicotine gels, waterpipe (hookah) tobacco, and orally ingested dissolvable tobacco products ...


Global Rules For Global Health: Why We Need An Independent, Impartial Who, Devi Sridhar, Julio Frenk, Lawrence O. Gostin, Suerie Moon Jun 2014

Global Rules For Global Health: Why We Need An Independent, Impartial Who, Devi Sridhar, Julio Frenk, Lawrence O. Gostin, Suerie Moon

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Over the past few years the World Health Organization (WHO) has been undergoing a significant reform process. The immediate trigger was a budget crisis in 2010 that spurred massive lay-offs at the global agency. But at a more fundamental level, deeper systematic changes in global health governance have made reform imperative. While WHO reform draws relatively little attention outside diplomatic circles in Geneva, at stake are critical issues that will impact public health everywhere. This article’s key messages are:

  • Recent outbreaks of MERS highlight the need for a global response to infectious disease
  • The WHO has had a crucial ...


Limiting What We Can Eat: A Bridge Too Far?, Lawrence O. Gostin Jun 2014

Limiting What We Can Eat: A Bridge Too Far?, Lawrence O. Gostin

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Innovative mayors across America are seeking to shape personal decisions about diet and physical activity, taking a page from tobacco control. But attempts to limit personal choices of what to eat have drawn the ire of vocal critics and sometimes the rebuke of judges, with former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s limit on soda portions becoming a key flash point. The public broadly accepts state power to control infectious diseases, but often draws a line at limiting dietary choices. The author wants to dispel some of the well-worn arguments in the obesity wars.


Global Health And The Law, Lawrence O. Gostin, Devi Sridhar May 2014

Global Health And The Law, Lawrence O. Gostin, Devi Sridhar

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The last two decades have brought revolutionary changes in global health, driven by popular concern over AIDS, novel influenzas, and maternal mortality. Given the rapid globalization that is a defining feature of today’s world, the need for a robust system of global health law has never been greater. Global health law has been defined as the legal norms, processes, and institutions designed primarily to attain the highest possible standard of physical and mental health for the world’s population. Global health law is not an organized legal system, with a unified treaty monitoring body, such as the World Trade ...