LEG REG REVIEW 2014, 8th Issue March 24, 2014

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).  Subscription information may be obtained by contacting PHILLIPS ASSOCIATES at 717/728-1217 FAX 717/232-7005 or e-mail to xenobun@aol.com.  Please email jtrout2792@aol.com supplying both your name and e-mail address if you wish to be removed from or added to this list.

WAGNER WINS YORK SPECIAL SENATE ELECTION

On March 18, conservative activist and business owner Scott Wagner won the special election in York County for the York County Senate seat vacated by former Senator Michael Waugh who was named executive director of the Farm Show.  This fiercely contested special election included Rep. Ron Miller (R-York), Democrat Linda Small and write-in Scott Wagner.  Wagner will fill out the rest of Waugh’s term to November 30, 2014.  Wagner and Miller will face off again in the Republican primary in May if Miller decides to continue his candidacy. Miller did not re-file for his current House seat.  Small is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.  Vote percentages were Wagner 47.7%, Miller 26.6% and Small 25.7%

PENNSYLVANIA POLITICS

Nominating petitions are in to the Department of State which means that we now have a pretty good idea as to who is in the spring primary (www.dos.pa.state.us).  On March 19, candidates or proxies participated in a lottery to see who got which position on the ballot. In a primary race where there are a number of contenders; ballot position can be crucial since if a candidate is buried on the ballot, he/she has less voter visibility at the polls.  Tom Wolfe won the top ballot position in the Democratic primary for Governor.

For Governor, a major Democratic contender, former DEP Secretary John Hanger, dropped out, leaving former Auditor General Jack Wagner, US congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, York businessman Tom Wolf, former DEP Secretary Katie McGinty, and PA State Treasurer Rob McCord in the race.  Governor Corbett has a challenger in the Republican primary from attorney Bob Guzzardi, a conservative activist who says that the Governor broke a no-tax promise when Act 89 (transportation funding) was enacted.

The Lt. Governor contest is crowded on the Democratic side. (Republican incumbent Jim Cawley does not have a primary opponent.)  The seven Democrats seeking the post are:

  • Brenda Alton, aide to former Harrisburg Mayor Linda Thompson (contesting a Dept. of State decision not to let her on the ballot because her petitions were filed late)
  • Former US congressman Mark Critz who lost his seat in 2012 to Keith Rothfus
  • HarrisburgCity Councilman Brad Koplinski
  • State Rep. Brendan Neuman (D-Washington)
  • Jay Paterno, son of the late PennState coach Joe Paterno
  • State Senator Mike Stack (D-Phila.)
  • BradfordCounty Commissioner Mark Smith

HIGHLIGHTED RACES

  •  ‘Tis the season for signature challenges as contenders seek to invalidate each others candidacies.  So far, the Department of State has not posted a list of complaints or their adjudication. The media reports that Democrat Jay Paterno’s petitions are being challenged by Harrisburg city councilman Brad Koplinski in their contest to be the Democratic Lt. Governor nominee.  In addition, the GOP primary opponent to Governor Corbett, Bob Guzzardi, faces a challenge to his petitions as well.
  • ARE THERE RACES WHERE AN INSURANCE PERSON IS RUNNING?  LEG REG Review would like to do a special report if one is identified.  (xenobun@aol.com )

ALLEGATIONS OF SCANDEL HIT PHILLY SEATS

A number of Philadelphia Democratic legislators have come under scrutiny for possible wrong-doing.  Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced that she was charging PA Senator Leanna Washington with misusing her office resources and staff for political campaign purposes.  This week in a Harrisburg news conference, Kane defended her decision to end a probe into several Democratic House members who were allegedly receiving bribes in a sting operation.  Although being attacked by those who felt that the probe should have resulted in indictments, Kane said in her press conference that the sting operation was flawed, was no longer seen as productive and that racial targeting was also a factor since all the targeted legislators allegedly receiving bribes were black.  According to the Washington Times (3/18) and other news sources, the legislators were identified as Representatives Ron Waters, Vanessa Brown, Michelle Brownlee and Louise Bishop.  Brownlee chairs the Black Caucus.  Philadelphia watchdog group Committee of Seventy called for the General Assembly to create an independent counsel to review both the sting and the Attorney General’s decision to pull the plug on the investigation. Details: Zachary Stalberg 267/861-6042

https://www.seventy.org/Downloads/Seventy_urges_Appointment_of_Independent_Counsel_in_AG_probe.pdf

REGULATORY UPDATES

  • The Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) reviews Insurance Department Rule 11-252, Rules and Procedural Requirements for Insurance Holding Company Systems April 10.
  • Radian Investor Surety, Inc. has applied for a Certificate of Authority to operate as a stock casualty insurance company in Pennsylvania.

DEPARTMENT ISSUES INSURER PPACA CHECK LIST

On March 22, the Department issued Notice 2014-04, Affordable Care Act; Guidance for Compliance Submissions. (https://www.pabulletin.com/secure/data/vol44/44-12/615.html ).  Applying to insurers that are legally required to submit a policy form or policy form modification to the PA Insurance Department, the Notice specifies areas in which a plan must be compliant with the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  This also applies to Qualified Health Plans (exchanges).  Along with this requirement comes an actuarial memorandum submitted with any rating decisions.  This memorandum would specify the insurer’s medical loss ratio, whether or not the plan will be offered through the exchange (marketplace), state the actuarial level of coverage, specify compliance with PPACA rating factors (age, geography, tobacco, family size).  Examples of items on the PPACA compliance checklist are:

  • Elimination of annual, lifetime benefit limits; Prohibition of recissions
  • First-dollar coverage for certain preventive health care services; extension of dependent coverage
  • No medical underwriting; patient protections, appeal processes; No discrimination in favor of highly compensated individuals (NOTE: PPACA rules on this have yet to be released.)
  • And approximately fifty more on the compliance check list.

Notice 2014-04 also specifies which counties are in each PA Rating Area; for example, Rating Are 7 includes York, Adams, Berks, and LancasterCounties.

PRESIDENT OBAMA SIGNS LAW REVERSING SOME B-W CHANGES

On March 21, President Obama signed HR 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Act, into law.  Among other things, it authorizes money to be used to reimburse homeowners for successful appeals against NFIP mapping changes; refunds to people who purchased homes since July 3, 2012 who learned that the change in ownership escalated their flood insurance premiums, yearly premium are limited to 15 percent, and designation of an Advocate to help property owners in appeal situations.  PA sponsors included twelve out of PA’s 18-seat congressional delegation: Representatives Barletta, Brady, Cartwright, Doyle, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, Kelly, Marino, Meehan, Schwartz and Thompson.

https://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c113:1:./temp/~c113LW13V4

Before the signing, PA House Resolution 648 (Millard-R-Columbia) urging final Federal enactment passed the PA House 194-0 on March 17.

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