Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Sheriff in Town

After nearly a decade of minimal regulatory oversight and most favored industry status, the Florida insurance companies are quickly learning that Governor Crist & Company will not tolerate bad behavior. The recent conflict in Tallahassee between the Allstate Insurance Company and Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has all the trappings of a classic showdown in the old West between the new Sheriff who promises to clean up Dodge and the entrenched railroad and cattle barons who want business as usual.

The insurance industry could do no wrong during the entire Jeb Bush tenure, which may have led Allstate to believe that it no longer needed to comply with the rule of law. This all changed with the move to require insurance executives to testify under oath and to produce key documents pertaining to its anti-consumer, predatory corporate practices. Who knows where this will lead. Likely increased governmental regulation and a return of consumers having an open door to governmental leaders. But will it lower rates? Likely not.

One thing is clear, there's a new Sheriff in town and he has willing deputies who are committed to cleaning up Tallahasee. The time has come for a balance between the rights of industry and the rights of consumers.

Will Nationalized Health Insurance Eliminate other Insurance?

Wade Coye, Attorney
Any discussion of universal healthcare necessarily requires inquiry into the types of insurance that already provide some level of care for a person's health. For instance, many people access healthcare through health insurance that is paid for by tax dollars already: federal, state, and local employees, medicaid, medicare, federal workers compensation, and military benefits such as veterans benefits. In the private sector people receive health care from individual and employer sponsored group health benefits, workers compensation policies, auto no-fault policies and other accidental and health policies. Some of these policies pay based upon specific conditions and some pay for health care no matter the situation.

All of the above pay for much of the care that is obtained in this country and is necessarily something which bears significant consideration in a discussion of so-called universal healthcare.  Each of the above has overlapping and duplicate coverages for some, and for others is the sole financial resource to obtain healthcare.  The funding for the different types of coverages are paid for by a combination of state and federal regulatory frameworks, compensation plans, and tort liability. No discussion in the national media has completely reviewed these issues or the likely effect that universal healthcare will have on the existing means of obtaining medical treatment.