California Passes AJR 12 in Support of SMART Act

It appears that California is quite outspoken about the fact that it is fully onboard with and in support of the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers (SMART) Act of 2011, also known as H.R. 1063. Due to the overwhelming support of SMART among public entities, business groups, insurance companies, and advocates for accident victims and workers’ compensation claimants, the California legislature unanimously passed Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 12. For a copy of AJR 12, click here

AJR 12 respectfully requests that President Barack Obama and U.S. Congress pass the SMART Act. AJR 12 was sponsored and applauded by Pacific Compensation Insurance Company, a specialty writer of workers’ compensation insurance.

The SMART Act  was introduced by the Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC), a group which advocates for the improvement of the MSP Program for beneficiaries and affected companies. PMSI is a supporter of MARC.

The SMART Act  specifically seeks to streamline the MSP process by easing burdens on CMS, as well as the insurance industry. Some of the initiatives proposed as part of the SMART Act include a sixty-five (65) day limit for CMS to respond to conditional payment requests, setting a monetary threshold in which the MSP would not apply, carving out safe harbors for the MMSEA Section 111 penalties, as well as setting a statute of limitations for CMS to recover conditional payments at 3 years. For a copy of the SMART Act as proposed, click here.

The SMART Act was brought to the forefront of U.S. Congress just last month, when the Chief Financial Officer of CMS, Deborah Taylor, was questioned on the financial controls she is currently using in running the MSP Program.
An article posted on WorkCompCentral (subscription required) discusses AJR 12 in further detail, and quotes Mark Webb, Vice President and General Counsel for Pacific Compensation Insurance Company as stating “. . . that the California resolution would be a valuable tool to help persuade California’s Congressional delegation that the MSP Process needs to be streamlined so settlements close more quickly and the entire workers’ compensation system works more efficiently.”

It will be interesting to see if other states will follow California and pass similar resolutions in support of SMART. PMSI will continue to follow this issue.

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