LEG REG REVIEW is a periodic newsletter produced by PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES, a professional lobbying and consultant firm located near the State Capitol. It contains news on the legislative and regulatory scene in Pennsylvania that may be of interest to the Insurance and Business Communities. It is a free member benefit for those who are members of the Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters (PAHU) or Manufacturers Association of South Central PA (MASCPA). Subscription information may be obtained by contacting PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES at 717/728-1217 FAX 717/728-1164 or e-mail to email@example.com. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org supplying both your name and e-mail address if you wish to be removed from this list.
CORBETT PICKS MORE; TWO LEFT
Governor Corbett has nominated three more to round out his Cabinet, leaving only two major spots unfilled. Remaining are the Secretaries of the Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) and Labor & Industry (L&I). Most recent nominations are:
- George Greig for Secretary of Agriculture. He serves on the State Board of the PA Farm Bureau and is a practicing farmer from northwest PA. One of his many challengers will be to continue state funding for the Crop Insurance Premium Subsidy Program given the state’s dismal budgetary situation.
- Brian Duke for Secretary of Aging. He is Director of the Bucks County Area Agency on Aging and former Executive Director of the New Jersey Foundation on Aging.
- Major General Wesley Craig as Adjutant General. He is chairman of the PA Committee for Employer support of the National Guard and retired as Commanding General of the 28th Division, PA National Guard in 2006.
- Maria Donatucci won the special election in Philadelphia’s 185th district to succeed her husband, the late Rep. Robert Donatucci who passed away in November. She received 94% of the vote in this heavily Democratic district. The R v. D margin in the House is now 112 Republicans to 91 Democrats.
- Rep. Josh Shapiro (D-Montgomery) is seeking the position of Montgomery County Commissioner after his former boss Joe Hoeffel decided not to seek re-election.
- Rep. Dennis O’Brien (R-Phila.) appears to be seeking a spot on the Philadelphia City Council. A former Speaker of the House, O’Brien is also known for his advocacy on behalf of families facing autism. He shepherded an autism spectrum mandated benefit through the General Assembly.
- Former Rep. David Steil (R-Bucks) has been named President of single payer advocacy group HealthCare4AllPA.
- Rep. Doug Reichley (R-Lehigh) is running for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Lehigh County.
JANUARY REVENUES EXCEED PREDICTION
According to the PA Department of Revenue, revenues exceeded estimates in January by 3.4% or $72.8 million. This is important in that it helps set the stage for Governor Corbett’s March presentation of the proposed state Budget for FY 2011-12 by suggesting that economic activity is at last being seen in increased state revenues. Year to date revenues are $13.7 billion, showing $267 million over estimate.
PPACA REPEAL EFFORT FAILS IN SENATE but PPACA LOSES A COURT ROUND
Nationally, the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA) saw a courtroom loss but was vindicated of sorts by a partisan vote in the US Senate. The Florida decision designated PPACA’s individual mandate as unconstitutional but fell short of imposing an injunction that stops implementation. The ruling does propel calls to the US Supreme Court to consider at least some of the lawsuits winding their way through the judicial system. Pennsylvania’s two Senators reflected the partisan divide with Republican Pat Toomey voting to repeal and Democrat Bob Casey Jr. voting to support PPACA.
HHS STUDY SAYS PPACA SAVINGS ABOUND
The Obama Administration claims that some families can save up to $14,900 annually because of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The January 28 report says that a family of four with a $33,525 income could see as much as $14,900 because of tax credits and reduced cost sharing; small employers could save up to $350 per family policy; and “all businesses will likely see lower premiums of $2,000 per family by 2019.” The small business health insurance premium tax credits are supposed to save small businesses six billion dollars in 2010 and 2111. The report text can be found at:
CIVILITY MAY BE ECLIPSED
The national conversation on civility may be taking a back seat to political attacks. In recognition of conservative charges that PPACA is a stepping stone towards socialized medicine and the recent court setback for PPACA, Democrats upped the ante with the following e-mail blast from Organizing for America, a Democratic National Committee program:
We’re on the side of the young adults who can now stay on their parents’ health plan until they turn 26. …We’re on the side of the seniors who used to pay thousands out of pocket because they fell in the “donut hole” in prescription drug coverage…. We’re on the side of the people the insurance companies can no longer discriminate against, like children who have a pre-existing condition.
That’s why we fought for reform in the first place.
That’s why we can’t stand by while the other side tries to tear it down, exposing millions of Americans once again to the whims of the insurance industry. It’s why we can’t just sit back while a few activist judges rehash last year’s debate as they attempt to legislate from the bench and strike down provisions in the bill.
- L&I announced that the maximum Workers’ Compensation payable based on the Statewide Average weekly Wage is $858.00 per week in 2011.
- The PA Council on Aging announced 2011 meeting dates as February 23; April 20; June 8; September 7; December 7 Details: William White 717/783-1550
- United Fire & Casualty Company is seeking to acquire Mercer Insurance Company and Franklin Insurance Company (stock P/C).
- Penn Reserve Insurance Co. Ltd. has applied for a Certificate of Authority from the Insurance Department to operate as a stock casualty insurance company in PA.
TWO SURPLUS LINES NOTICES
Surplus Lines licensees might take note of two regulatory items. First is PA Bulletin Vol. 41, Number 4 (www.pabulletin.com) which lists the Eligible Surplus Lines Insurer List which replaces in its entirety the list published July 1, 2010. The second is a February 5 posting where the Insurance Department has issued its annual call to the Surplus Lines community to determine if there are any types of insurance deemed to be so unavailable in the standard market that there are automatically considered E&S with no need for the usual declinations. This is called the Export List. Comments are due the first week of March to Cressinda Bybee FAX 717/787-8557 (email@example.com )
- SPARKS Club is offering two seminars on the Insurance Implications of Marcellus Shale in Williamsport and Warrendale/Mars on March 22 and 23 respectively. This course is pending approval for six CE credits. Details: www.sparksclub.com
Central PA I Day will be held April 21 in Camp Hill. Among the speakers is NAHU’s Adam Brackmyre who will brief attendees on PPACA implementation and prospects for change or repeal at the national level. Details: Sharon Lane (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Rob Berger (rberger@MyBBSonline.com)