Archive for October, 2010

Tort Reform Is Dead. Now What?

More than a few state Supreme Courts have overturned tort reform laws in the past year. The concept is that everyone is entitled to a trial by jury, and that the courts, not legislature, should decide how much is enough. Oddly enough, the legislative branches are often opposed to tort reform as well. Whether we agree or not is irrelevant. Enough Supreme Courts have spoken that we concur that tort reform certainly in jeopardy.

What’s the next step? Do we just “stay the course,” continue the trend towards increasingly extensive defensive medicine? That is a waste of the physician’s resources as well as the patient’s time and money. The insurance companies can’t care very much for it either, since raising rates to compensate for such costs is easier said than done these days.

In a perfect world, it would be possible for a patient to agree not to sue in exchange for lower rates. As the aforementioned Supreme Court decisions have demonstrated, though, our nation’s courts don’t take kindly to being told they cannot make whatever awards they deem justified. This goes along with the foundational concept that one cannot sign away basic rights. In that case, the physician is left only two choices: Continue to pay in myriad ways, or fight back against the attacks.

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Gaines bills signed into law by Schwarzenegger

Marking the signing deadline for legislation passed this year, Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, today announced that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed three of his bills that will help lower costs to consumers, protect homeowners from devastating natural disasters and streamline government.

“I applaud Governor Schwarzenegger for signing my measures that will help increase government efficiency, lower costs and protect local homeowners from underinsurance,” Gaines said. “By acting today, California homeowners can now make sure their homes are adequately insured in the event of a devastating natural disaster and business owners can save time and money with a much-needed update to California’s banking law. Domestic insurers can also keep jobs here and cut costs by being able to provide their own administrative services.”

During his short time in the Assembly, Gaines has been successful working across party lines and has had 19 bills signed into law since he was elected to the Assembly in 2006.

The bills signed by Governor Schwarzenegger:

Department of Insurance Disclosure
Assembly Bill 2022 will make it easier for California families to see for themselves if their homes are underinsured prior to a catastrophic event. The bill makes required insurance disclosure forms easier for homeowners to understand, so more Californians will be able to take proactive steps to insure themselves from a potential devastating wildfire, flood or earthquake.

Banking Modernization
Assembly Bill 1268 makes much-needed updates to portions of California’s banking law, which hasn’t been changed since 1951. The measure consolidates many provisions of the law into a single chapter of financial code and deletes several obsolete and out-dated components, helping streamline regulatory oversight and increase consistency in the law.

Insurance Transactions
Assembly Bill 1837 helps level the playing field for California domestic insurers by allowing them to provide their own administrative services to a local affiliate for surplus lines placements in the state. The bill also helps insurers reduce their operational expenses by keeping these jobs local.

Courtesy of Rocklin & Roseville Today News

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