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February 17, 2011

Designed for and delivered only to KAIA Members.

Important Dates for your calendar:

Friday, February 25:

TURNAROUND DAY: Last day to consider bills in their original house.

 

Wednesday, March 23:

Last day to consider bills not in their original house.

 

Saturday, April 2:

Only omnibus budget bills and vetoed legislation considered after this date.

 

Wednesday, April 27:

Veto session ends.

Register Now: 2011 Kansas Agents Legislative Day

One fee of $55 will cover your entire agency (everyone can attend), provide steak dinners  and 3 CE credits (to be filed for 2 gen and 1 ethics). Have Some Fun, Do Some Good! Click here to sign up at KAIA's website.

Modernization of the work comp assigned risk plan, rating flexibility, increased CE requirements, heath insurance exchange working groups - these are just some of the issues affecting you this legislative session.  Take advantage of this opportunity to get briefed on the issues and talk with your legislators.  Don't forget to contact your legislator and let them know you are coming.

Legislators will be on the floor debating bills most of the day, Wednesday, February 23.  But they will probably  be given the opportunity to eat, so be sure to encourage them to come have steak with you!
Quick Links

Office

815 SW Topeka Blvd
Topeka, KS 66612
800-229-7048

www.kaia.com

 

Links to Committees

House Insurance Committee

 

Senate Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee

 

Stateside News

Senate FI&I Committee Gains Ranking Minority Member

Brand-new State Sen. Allen Schmidt, D-Hays, elected to replace Janis Lee, has been appointed to the Senate's standing Financial Institutions & Insurance Committee.  Schmidt is a former dairyman and retired army colonel from Hays, KS.

 

House passes health care challenge

The House passed this morning, 91-27, its resolution calling for a statewide vote that would prohibit federal law from requiring Kansans to purchase health insurance.

The so-called "Obamacare" resolution now heads to the Senate, where its chances are considered slim-or were last session. This year, just two years before the Senate stands for reelection, it's a little different, though the resolution does require 27 votes, and that's rough in the upper chamber on the measure.

 

Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said he's not sure that the Senate is intrigued enough with the federal health care availability act to go for a constitutional amendment, and would instead like to see what's possible in the way of state statute to moderate the key component of the federal law-the mandatory purchase of health insurance.

 

House passes workers compensation overhaul

The House passed HB 2134 today.  The bill is a compromise between labor and business to overhaul Kansas workers compensation statutes.  The bill "fixes" several issues that came out of court case decisions (Casco, Bergstrom, Tyler, etc.).  KAIA supported the base bill and supported an amendment that will put into place a waiver that sole proprietors may sign to opt out of the workers compensation system.

 

Two Surplus Lines Bills

Two surplus lines bills have been assigned to the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.  Both bills are proposed to comply with the Dodd-Frank Act in order that Kansas may continue to receive premium tax dollars on surplus lines business.  One is proposed by Commissioner Sandy Praeger and based on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) model (SB  178); the second is based on the National Council Of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) model (SB 206).  KAIA continues to monitor the issue and will update you as developments occur.

 

Continuing Education Requirements

The proponents and opponents of SB 71, the bill that proposes to increase the number of continuing education credits required each biennium for agent license renewal, met this week to discuss their differences and attempt to reach a compromise.  Suggestions for amendments included tightening the definition of what transacting the business of insurance means so it limits who in an office must be licensed (office support would potentially not need to be licensed), phasing in the increase over a period of time (18 hours in 2013 and 24 hours in 2015), and clarification on who will need to be fingerprinted to obtain a license. The bill has been "blessed" which allows more time for a compromise to be reached.

 

EXECUTIVE REORGANIZATION ORDERS

The Governor issued three ERO's last week.  An ERO must be submitted to the Legislature within the first 30 calendar days of the session and will become effective July 1 of that year unless the Legislature rejects it.  The Legislature has 60 days to take action on an ERO once receiving notice of it.  Only 33 ERO's have been issued since they began in the 1970's.  Several have been issued this year for Legislative consideration are:

  1. ERO 34 which abolishes the Parole Board and establishes the Prisoner Review Board within the Dept of Corrections
  2. ERO 35 transfers the Kansas Commission on Disability Concerns from the Department of Commerce to the
  3. ERO 36 moves the Division of Travel and Tourism from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP).  It also abolishes the Asst Secretary of Operations and replaces it with Asst Secretary of Wildlife, Fisheries and Boating and an Asst Secretary of Parks & Tourism.
  4. ERO 37 would abolish Kansas, Inc. and gives those powers and duties to the Secretary of Administration.
  5. ERO 38, the Executive Reorganization Order to move KHPA to KDHE
  6. ERO 39 abolishes the Kansas Arts Commission and transfers the state agency's responsibilities to the Kansas Historical Society. 
  7. ERO 40, consolidates various agriculture-related state agencies under the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA).

National News

The U.S. House Ways and Means Committee plans to hold a hearing Feb. 10 on the effects of the Affordable Care Act on the Medicare program and Medicare beneficiaries.  Witnesses expected to appear at the Medicare PPACA hearing include Dr. 

Kansas Awarded Innovator Grant
 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on February 16, 2011 announced the award of seven cooperative agreements to help a group of "Early Innovator" states design and implement the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure needed to operate Health Insurance Exchanges.  The Kansas Insurance Department will receive $31,537,465.  The summary of their proposal follows:

Procured and implemented by the Kansas Health Policy Authority (KHPA), Kansas is extending the new Kansas Medicaid/CHIP eligibility system (K-MED) and integrating K-MED with the Kansas Health Insurance Exchange. The State of Kansas is in preliminary discussions with the State of Missouri to partner on an Exchange and other aspects of this initiative. Kansas is committed to sharing knowledge, work products and other intellectual property with other states that will be deploying their exchange using a similar strategy. Depending on the interest of other states and potential arrangements with strategic business partners, Kansas may explore the possibility of creating a "cloud" solution for other states to have their own instance of one or more of these healthcare applications.

For the full article, click here.

 

Republican Governors Send Letter to HHS

Letter states they will not create exchanges without necessary regulatory improvements.

On Monday, a group of 21 Republican governors sent a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging her to make specific improvements to the new health exchanges. In the letter, the governors stated that they may not run their own exchanges unless HHS meets their requests. Click here to read the full article

 

Secretary Sebelius Outlines Potential CLASS Act Fixes

Changes needed to make program financially viable.

In a speech to the Kaiser Family Foundation earlier this week, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius outlined a series of potential regulatory fixes to address financial concerns with the CLASS Act, a government run voluntary long-term-care insurance program passed as part of the health care law last March. Her comments came after a 10-month study of the issue by HHS. The CLASS program is slated to begin taking on enrollees following the October 2012 deadline for defining included benefits.  Click here to read the full article.