Washington Post — Supreme Court backs EPA this time, refuses to block controls on toxic mercury
A month after it hobbled the Obama administration’s signature regulation on climate change, the Supreme Court declined Thursday to block a different air-pollution rule that seeks to cut toxic emissions from the nation’s power plants. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. rejected a request to stay the Mercury and Air Toxic Standards rule, adopted by the Environmental Protection Agency three years ago to tighten restrictions on a class of harmful pollutants that are byproducts of burning coal. Roberts’s unilateral ruling means the regulation remains in effect while a legal battle continues over whether the EPA properly weighed costs and benefits in drafting the controversial regulation.

Wall Street Journal — California lawmakers approve bill to raise tobacco-purchase age to 21
California lawmakers Thursday approved a bill that would raise the tobacco purchase age to 21, setting it on the path to be the first major state to adopt the measure. The legislation was part of a package of tobacco measures — including restrictions on electronic cigarettes — that stalled last year.

Forbes — The doctor who made a difference in Flint, Michigan
Flint, Michigan, symbolizes political and bureaucratic indifference at best, and incompetence at worst. The events there reflect what is wrong and what is right with today’s U.S. healthcare system. The impact on thousands of children demonstrates the terrible consequences that can happen from a failure in public health. Understanding what happened in Flint opens a window into addressing the healthcare disparities that continue to beset our nation.

ASPPH — Flu hits Americ’a poor hardest, Yale study finds
People who live in poorer American neighborhoods face a number of health disparities, and a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health indicates that increased rates of hospitalization from influenza is yet another issue facing the less affluent.In a report published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers led by Dr. James Hadler, clinical professor of epidemiology at Yale, reveals that residents of neighborhoods with high numbers of people living below the poverty line are twice as likely to be hospitalized for influenza than their peers residing in wealthier areas. This holds true across all age, racial and ethnic groups, Dr. Hadler said.