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Court delay sought in $7B Obamacare subsidy case
Legal Business | 2017/05/20 09:03
Uncertainty over the future of health care for millions grew deeper Monday as insurers released a blueprint for stabilizing wobbly markets and the Trump administration left in limbo billions of dollars in federal payments.

At the federal courthouse, the administration and House Republicans asked appeals judges for a 90-day extension in a case that involves federal payments to reduce deductibles and copayments for people with modest incomes who buy their own policies. The fate of $7 billion in “cost-sharing subsidies” remains under a cloud as insurers finalize their premium requests for next year.

The court case is known as House v. Price. In requesting the extension, lawyers for the Trump administration and the House said the parties are continuing to work on measures, “including potential legislative action,” to resolve the issue. Requests for extensions are usually granted routinely.

Hours before the filing, a major insurer group released a framework for market stability that relies in part on a continuation of such subsidies.

The BlueCross BlueShield Association represents plans that are the backbone of insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, and would also be the mainstay with a Republican approach.

As the GOP-led Congress works on rolling back major parts of the Obama law, the BlueCross BlueShield plan called for:

Continued protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and sustained federal funding to offset the cost of care for the sickest patients.

More leeway for states to experiment with health insurance benefits, with a basic floor of federal standards.

Preserving ACA consumer safeguards including no lifetime caps on benefits, no higher premium for women based on gender, and a requirement that insurers spend a minimum of 80 cents of every premium dollar on medical care.


Michigan Supreme Court Justice Young announces retirement
Legal Business | 2017/03/27 17:08
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Young plans to retire and return to his former law firm.

A statement from the court says Young announced his plans Wednesday during a meeting with fellow Michigan Supreme Court justices. The 65-year-old says his retirement from the court is effective April 30 or earlier. He’s going back to the Dickinson Wright firm.

Young served three years on the Michigan Court of Appeals and 18 years on Michigan’s highest court, including six years as chief justice. Young says he’s proud of his accomplishments, including helping to reduce acrimony among the court.

He says in a statement “we proved that good people who may differ in their opinions can come together and accomplish important things for the people we serve — and we do it amicably.”




German court excludes Jewish brothers from Auschwitz trial
Legal Business | 2017/02/15 10:06
A German court has excluded two elderly Jewish American men from joining the trial of a 96-year-old former Auschwitz SS medic, because their mother was not killed in the death camp's gas chambers during the time covered in the indictment.

Hubert Zafke is charged with 3,681 counts of accessory to murder for a one-month period in 1944.

The Neubrandenburg state court said Tuesday it was excluding Walter and William Plywaski, of Boulder, Colorado, from joining the trial as co-plaintiffs, as allowed under German law for victims' relatives.

Their attorneys argue that Zafke was present for a longer period than covered by the indictment, and say they'll appeal.

The trial has been repeatedly delayed over the defendant's health and complaints from the co-plaintiffs the judges are biased.


Supreme Court delays New Jersey sports betting decision
Legal Business | 2017/01/12 23:50
The U.S. Supreme Court says it wants to hear more arguments before deciding whether to consider New Jersey's challenge to a federal sports betting ban. The court had been expected to announce a decision Tuesday.

Instead, it asked the U.S. solicitor general to weigh in. That could mean several more months before a decision is made. New Jersey is challenging a 1992 federal law that restricts sports betting to Nevada and three other states. The four major pro sports leagues and the NCAA sued to stop New Jersey in 2012.

New Jersey claims the federal law violates the Constitution by preventing states from repealing their own laws. Several states including Mississippi, West Virginia, Arizona, Louisiana and Wisconsin have joined New Jersey's effort.



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