Congress Hard at Work

For all the criticism received prior to the New Year, both houses in Congress seem to be in full swing working on legislation on a wide range of issues, from budget control to gun control.


As for the budget, the huge divide doesn’t really appear to be getting any closer. With one phase of the sequester underway as of March 1, we now have another six-month “band-aid” instead of a long-term resolution.


As the budget challenge lingers, we also draw closer to another battle over increasing the debt limit, scheduled to bump into its ceiling later this summer. The financial analysts at Fidelity believe that fiscal debates will be ongoing until our debt situation stabilizes–calling this our “new normal.”


[CLICK HERE to read, “Congress avoids shutdown; bickers over 2014 budget,” at, March 22, 2013.]


[CLICK HERE to read the article, “What the budget battles mean for investors” at Fidelity, December 10, 2012.]


On the health care front, Paul Ryan and the GOP are still trying to overturn Obamacare. In addition to the wide-sweeping proposals to do away with much of the legislation, smaller bills are being introduced to chip away at some of the smaller issues the bill faces.


For example, the “Access to Independent Health Insurers Advisors Act” is designed to specifically exclude agent compensation from the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) formula–primarily in the individual and small group markets. The Patient Protection and Affordability Act currently restricts health insurer profits by requiring that no more than 20 percent of an insurer’s expenses be attributed to non-medical costs. This includes health insurance broker commissions.


Expanded coverage requirements and the restricted medical loss ratio could result in profit losses for insurers. It is anticipated that they will reduce broker commissions to help shore up margins. This proposed legislation is designed to exclude broker commissions from the MLR so this field remains viable to help people navigate the complex health care market in the future.


[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Senate first at bat in 113th with MLR bill introduction,” at LifeHealthPro, March 22, 2013.]


[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Senate Dems vote to repeal part of health care law,” at Benefitspro, March 22, 2013.]


Speaking of new legislation, to combat the threat of gun violence in South Dakota schools, the state has passed a law allowing school teachers to bring their own weapons to school. You can read more about this and the history of gun legislation in this country, below.


[CLICK HERE to read the article, “A State Backs Guns in Class for Teachers” at The New York Times, March 8, 2013.]


[CLICK HERE to read the special report, “Guns in America,” at The Washington Post, March 13, 2013.]


Remember that whenever new legislation gets passed, it’s important to understand how changes can impact your financial situation. If you would like a personal review and consultation, please give us a call.


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Source: Woods Blog Old

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