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September 18, 2017

California’s Single-Payer Legislation Stalls in Assembly

SB 562, the single-payer bill introduced in the California Senate earlier this year, will not proceed to a vote this year. Assembly Speaker Rendon is getting blowback for his decision to table the bill but has announced that he will host a series of hearings on single-payer after the regular legislative session ends.

The following update is provided by Amy Donovan, vice president of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs at Council member firm, Keenan:

Meantime, a group named Enact Universal Healthcare for CA, Inc. filed a new proposed ballot initiative to amend California’s Constitution, called the “California Healthcare Roadblock Removal Act.” The initiative proposes to establish a healthcare trust fund independent of the General Fund. Passage of this ballot measure would at least on paper establish the framework for a funding source for a single-payer program.

Once State Attorney General Xavier Becerra has provided approval to circulate the proposed initiative, proponents will need to collect nearly 600,000 signatures within 180 days to qualify the California Healthcare Roadblock Removal Act for the November 2018 ballot.

Polling conducted by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California in late May found that 65 percent of adults surveyed support the creation of a single-payer state healthcare program to cover all of the state’s residents, and 56 percent of likely voters approved of the idea. When asked about tax increases to pay for a single-payer program however, support dropped to 42 percent of those surveyed and 43 percent of likely voters.

Click here for the full text of the proposed ballot measure. Click here for the full PPIC poll results.

Hurricane Harvey/Irma – Disaster Assistance

FEMA recently issued this fact sheet to address confusion on whether proof of a denial of claims is necessary to qualify for FEMA individual assistance. The official notice states:

  • If you have flood and/or homeowners insurance and believe you incurred a covered loss, you should file a claim with your insurance carrier.
  • Though the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) does not cover additional living expenses, you may be eligible for this type of assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for your uninsured or underinsured disaster-caused expenses or serious needs, including temporary housing assistance.

Read more.

Changing the “Full-Time” Threshold

Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) reintroduced their “Forty Hours is Full Time Act” (S. 1782) last week. True to its title, the bill would change the threshold for “full-time employees” under the ACA from 30 hours to 40 hours. The Council has long supported this amendment to the ACA, which will impact the “applicable large employer” determination (i.e., those with at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalents) for purposes of the ACA’s employer mandate and related reporting requirements.

Historically, the 40-hour work week was the commonly-used definition of full-time—a convention around which long-term business models and strategies were built.  The Senators’ press release contends that their bill better reflects “common sense” and cites concerns that the current 30-hour week definition is negatively impacting the part-time employment market because it creates incentives for businesses to cut part-time employees’ hours to ensure they are not classified as “full-time.”

Wanted: More Data in Cyber Insurance

Despite consistent growth in the cyber insurance industry over the last two years, the industry faces a key underwriting obstacle that could potentially limit growth in the market: data. Lack of historical data in the cyber insurance market provides a critical challenge as carriers struggle to model cyber risk across a broad portfolio.

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And What About that Equifax Breach?

Credit reporting firm Equifax announced a massive cybersecurity breach last week, compromising sensitive personal and credit information of 143 million American consumers – nearly half the country. The data breach highlights the need for a uniform federal standard for reporting data breaches, a position The Council supports.

If you haven’t checked the status of your personal information, you can do so here.

The Council Foundation Announces 2017 Scholarship Recipients

The Council Foundation announced last week that it is awarding $375,000 in academic scholarships to 75 college students interested in pursuing careers in insurance brokerage. Each student will receive $5,000 towards their college education.

Read more.

Defining Leadership

By Ken Crerar

I look forward to our leadership issue every year. But this time was different. Leadership is being tested around the world both in public and private places, and I was torn about whether to comment on what is happening around us. It took nine drafts of this column before I finally surrendered to the printer.

Read more.

Joel Kopperd, Vice President of Government Affairs
Max Baucus, Once a Foe of Single-Payer Healthcare, Belatedly Endorses It
The Washington Post