They did what in the ’07 session?CARSON CITY Carson City, city (1990 pop. 40,443), state capital, W Nev., in the Eagle valley; inc. 1875. The city is a trade center for a mining and agricultural area. State government is the major employer, and tourism is economically important. — The Nevada Legislature The Nevada Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Nevada. The Legislature is a bicameral body, consisting of the lower house Nevada Assembly, with 42 members, and the upper house Nevada Senate, with 21 members. follows a tradition when it meets every two years: Cleaning up the messes it made in the previous session.
This year the Legislature will likely turn back a law passed in 2007 that has the potential to throw the state’s health insurance market into flux, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the former insurance commissioner and the office of Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto Catherine Cortez Masto is the current attorney general of the state of Nevada, United States. She was elected to replace George Chanos. Education
The history is a little Byzantine and much of it was reported by the Sun in the fall, but it offers an interesting window to some aspects of the legislative process:
In the final days of the 2007 session, an amendment that was slipped into an insurance bill greatly benefited a company that provides payroll services and administers health benefits for a variety of employers.
Without a committee hearing or public testimony, two Republican senators added the late-hour amendment. It allowed the company, Payroll Solutions, and certain other companies to avoid the kind of state oversight, regulation and taxes that apply to health insurers throughout Nevada.
Because of the change, Payroll Solutions avoided a $1 million fine and back taxes for operating as a health insurance provider without a license, a matter still being contested in the courts.
Why did the Legislature do this?
Tough to say, but Payroll Solutions had an ally in former state Sen. Bob Beers, who had been the company’s vice president of sales until the legislative session began in early 2007.
Beers made some introductions to his old Payroll Solutions boss, after which two Senate colleagues, Sen. Warren Hardy Warren B. Hardy II is a Republican member of the Nevada Senate, representing Clark County District 12 (map) since 2002. Previously he served in the Nevada House of Representatives in 1991. External links
Whether anyone knew it or not, the amendment had far-reaching implications, according to an internal memorandum two deputy attorneys general sent to their boss, Cortez Masto. In addition to aiding Payroll Solutions, the new language opened the door to insurance scams across the state, the memo says.
Payroll Solutions is what’s known as an “employee leasing organization.” That means companies hire Payroll Solutions to take care of their payroll, taxes, benefits administration and the like.
Payroll Solutions also began offering a self-funded health plan in 2001 to the companies for which it performed the other services.
The federal government decided in the early 1980s that it wanted help from the states in regulating this type of arrangement, which is known as a Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement, or MEWA MEWA Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (Group Employee Benefit Plan)
MEWA Middle East & West Asia
MEWA Motor and Equipment Wholesalers Association
MEWA Modified Esau-Williams Algorithm . The government wanted help because MEWAs are prone to fraud and insolvency.
Payroll Solutions, however, has long argued that it’s not a MEWA and thus not subject to state oversight.
The federal government and Nevada disagree with that assessment. In 2006 the state held an administrative hearing administrative hearing n. a hearing before any governmental agency or before an administrative law judge. Such hearings can range from simple arguments to what amounts to a trial. There is no jury, but the agency or the administrative law judge will make a ruling. that concluded with a $1 million fine against the company and a demand for back taxes.
The company appealed to the courts, setting off a flurry of suits between the parties in state and federal courts.
As the court cases continued, Payroll Solutions decided not to take any chances. It turned to the Legislature and won language to make sure it couldn’t be regulated as a MEWA.
The principals say they don’t remember much about how the amendment became law, which is understandable given the flurry of activity surrounding the end of the biennial 120-day session.
State officials tell another story, however, according to documents obtained by the Sun last year from a third party.
The amendment was added “surreptitiously sur·rep·ti·tious
1. Obtained, done, or made by clandestine or stealthy means.
2. Acting with or marked by stealth. See Synonyms at secret. ” and “most probably passed without full knowledge of the facts or implications,” said the internal memorandum to Cortez Masto from deputy attorneys general Shane Chesney and Joanna Grigoriev.
State officials are concerned the new law will have fly-by-night companies seeking to avoid regulation by the state insurance commissioner.
The memo from Chesney and Grigoriev warns that the 2007 law could allow companies to operate unmoored from state insurance rules that, for instance, mandate coverage of cancer screenings and require companies to contribute to a fund that would pay claims if they go broke.
Moreover, Nevada collects roughly $250 million in insurance premium taxes every year, which would be slashed if insurance companies escape Nevada’s purview The part of a statute or a law that delineates its purpose and scope.
Purview refers to the enacting part of a statute. It generally begins with the words be it enacted and continues as far as the repealing clause. .
If Payroll Solutions’ legal argument holds up in court, the implications could be profound, the state’s insurance commissioner at the time, Alice Molasky-Arman, wrote to Cortez Masto.
Nevada will become a haven for shady operators, Molasky-Arman wrote. The amendment “will devastate dev·as·tate
tr.v. dev·as·tat·ed, dev·as·tat·ing, dev·as·tates
1. To lay waste; destroy.
2. To overwhelm; confound; stun: was devastated by the rude remark. the health insurance market” and “destroy Nevada’s reputation as a strong, fair regulatory environment,” she wrote.
In a second advisory opinion, the federal Labor Department The Department of Labor (DOL) administers federal labor laws for the Executive Branch of the federal government. Its mission is "to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners of the United States, to improve their working said the amendment passed in 2007 was an illegal usurpation Usurpation
presumptuously assumed David’s throne before Solomon’s investiture. [O.T.: I Kings 1:5–10]
takeover of Austria (1938). [Eur. Hist. of federal law.
Now Democrats control the Senate, and they’ve introduced legislation to undo the language that benefited Payroll Solutions. It will likely become law.
Howard Winters, chief executive of Payroll Solutions, released a statement saying the new legislation would have no effect on the ongoing litigation An action brought in court to enforce a particular right. The act or process of bringing a lawsuit in and of itself; a judicial contest; any dispute.
When a person begins a civil lawsuit, the person enters into a process called litigation. : “It is Payroll Solutions’ opinion that the proposed legislation is designed to influence the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision on the appeal filed by the State. However, Payroll Solutions is confident that the proposed legislation will have no impact or change to the favorable ruling that Payroll Solutions received in District Court.”
Beers lost a tough reelection re·e·lect also re-e·lect
tr.v. re·e·lect·ed, re·e·lect·ing, re·e·lects
To elect again.
re fight in November and is now an accountant in private practice. He reiterated his view that it is unfair that companies like Payroll Solutions should face state as well as federal regulation.
J. Patrick Coolican can be reached at 259-8814 or email@example.com.