May 23, 2017
Here's the latest on Congress's attempts to amend ERISA to eliminate the made whole rule and give insurers carte blanche to be reimbursed their medical expenses regardless of how complete the compensation is from the negligent third party for the victim. The legislation's sponsors wanted to get all the changes in place before the Spring break that began a couple of weeks ago but ran into problems. The time frame for hammering out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Pension Protection Act is now set for May or later.
In the meantime, voices opposing the efforts to get rid of equitable subrogation, the idea that a personal injury plaintiff should be completely compensated for his injuries from a negligent third party before health insurers or medical benefit plans can be reimbursed, are starting to rise. I've posted in the Library an Op-Ed piece I sent to my local paper, the Salt Lake Tribune. I'll let you know if it gets published. It tells the story of Karl Sweat, a good illustration of why this legislation is such a bad idea. It also borrows extensively from information provided by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America to its members about the need to apply pressure to have the language emasculating the made whole rule removed from the Pension Protection Act.
Also, over 150 attorneys and law professors have signed a letter to the members of the conference committee detailing their concerns about the bill, specifically the fact that the bill as drafted creates a one way street that favors insurer interests and provides no protection to ERISA participants and beneficiaries. You can find the letter here in the Library. Other comments I've made about this legislation can be found here, here, here, here, here and here.
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