GB's Weekly Governmental Briefing
Through our Governmental Affairs practice, GB is helping to shape the laws and regulations that will define the times ahead. Acting on behalf of the best interests of our clients and our industry.
Each week, we bring it all into focus.
DEA Sends Marijuana Back to SchoolAug. 17, 2016
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will maintain its 46-year-old policy of classifying marijuana as a Schedule 1 dangerous narcotic with no accepted medical use. This week, the nation's top drug policymakers rejected a 2009 petition from a psychiatric nurse from New Mexico and 2011 petition from two former governors to change marijuana to a Schedule 2 substance under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. DEA Chief Chuck Rosenberg said the agency would not reclassify marijuana because of the lack of FDA approved studies showing the drug's safety and efficacy.
BACK TO THE LAB AGAIN
As such, the DEA announced it will lift long-standing restrictions on cultivation to facilitate expanded research into marijuana's potential medical effectiveness. Right now, all federally sanctioned marijuana for medical studies is grown under a government contract with the University of Mississippi. Leading researchers applaud the two DEA decisions, which should allow more researchers to study multiple strains and concentrations of the plant's compounds with the necessary oversight and vigilance to ensure high quality science.
The national debate on marijuana's use and legality will most certainly continue through November. Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton says that, if elected, she would support decriminalizing marijuana. And, the drug itself will be on the ballot in nine states come November, including California where Proposition 64 seeks to allow full recreational use in the Golden State. Four other states, Arizona, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Maine, each have recreational use initiatives up for a vote on November 8th. We'll keep you educated on these developments throughout fall.
The Democratic Party is taking steps to shore up its cyber defenses in light of the hacking events that occurred during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last month. To address this cyber risk, the DNC announced the creation of its Cybersecurity Advisory Board, which will include a former Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, former U.S. Chief Technology Officers, and a former Department of Justice cybercrime prosecutor. The move comes on the heels of a comprehensive survey of the nation's leading cyber organizations who conclude further cyber intrusions to the U.S. electoral process could be in store.
Meanwhile, 46 business groups from the United States, Europe, and Asia appealed this week to China to lobby against the country's proposed cybersecurity rules. In a letter to Premier Li Keqiang, China's top economic official, the international coalition urged that the current legislative drafts, if implemented, would weaken security and separate China from the global digital economy. The letter comes as the world's leaders prepare to meet for the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, China on Sept. 4-5. China's proposed cybersecurity laws, along with separate rules for insurance companies, would require technology providers to show Chinese authorities how their products work and to store information about Chinese citizens within the country. We're going to stay connected to this story.
Making Our Way Around the Country
On September 13th, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) the will host a policy forum and webinar to share actionable recommendations for policies for employers to improve stay-at-work/return-to-work solutions. The DOL's Stay-at-Work/Return-to-Work (SAW/RTW) Policy Collaborative and Mathematica's Center for Studying Disability Policy are sponsoring the event. The program will cultivate steps that states can take to help workers keep their jobs after injury, illness, or disability. For more information, please contact R2WPolicy@mathematica-mpr.com. We'll tune in and report back.
The United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit (which sits atop district courts in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia) delivered an opinion in the area of Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) litigation that will strengthen the recovery rights of the country's Medicare Advantage Plans (MAP) in P&C cases. MSP experts warn that Humana Medical Plan Inc. v. Western Heritage Insurance Co. not only grants to the Advantage Plans a federal recovery right for treatment rendered to a beneficiary in an insured loss, but the recovery must also come in the form of double damages.
Coloradans will see a ballot initiative this November which could create ColoradoCare, the nation's first universal, single-payer health care plan. Commentators suggest that ColoradoCare would adversely affect or eliminate the Centennial State's otherwise stable workers' compensation system. Last week, the Colorado Health Institute published its independent financial analysis of the single-payer plan - ColoradoCare would likely create an $8 billion drain on the Colorado economy over the next decade.
As summer begins to wane, children (and their parents) are getting ready for school to begin again. But for families of children who are fighting chronic or even terminal disease, the anxiety of a new school year would be a welcome worry. It's for these kids and families that the Risk and Insurance industry will descend on Orlando this Saturday for an overwhelming volunteer day to support the Give Kids the World Village. For more than 30 years, Give Kids the World, its beautiful Village, and powerful mission have changed lives for the better. We are thrilled to be a part of it.