Workers' Compensation News - July 28, 2004 Volume 2 Issue 230

 NEW JERSEY: MORRIS COUNTY BARS AND RESTURANTS BRACE FOR SMOKING BAN

"Bars and restaurants are public accommodations and shouldn't be allowed to have carcinogens in the air," said Regina Carlson, executive director of the New Jersey Group Against Smoking Pollution, known as NJGASP.
http://www.dailyrecord.com/news/articles/news1-aksmoking.htm
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AIA PUSHES TEORRISM RISK INSURANCE EXTENSION
The introduction of legislation in the Senate on Thursday to extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA) by two years "adds to the momentum for congressional action in 2004, and demonstrates bipartisan support for maintaining TRIA's critical economic safety net," Leigh Ann Pusey, senior vice president of government affairs for the American Insurance Association (AIA), remarked.
http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2004/07/22/44338.htm
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CONGRESS RECESSES AND BUSH OVERTIME PAY LIMITATIONS TO GO INTO EFFECT AUG. 23rd
U.S. Senate and House recessed until after Labor Day--failing to block the Bush overtime pay take-away set to go into effect Aug. 23. Republican leaders repeatedly joined with the Bush administration and blocked votes on two separate pieces of legislation that would have protected workers' right to overtime pay.
Starting on Aug. 23, employers can begin reclassifying many workers as ineligible for overtime, but it probably will take some time for employers to fully understand the extremely complex and confusing new rules and start deciding who can lose overtime pay.
For an explanation of the law
http://www.saveovertimepay.com/bushproposal.htm
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INSURERS FEAR EXPLOSION OF SILICA CLAIMS
US insurers could be facing a deluge of compensation claims from workplace victims of silica-related disease. They say at least 30,000 people nationwide have filed such claims - many of them in the past two years. This compares to the estimated 730,000 who have filed asbestos claims, according to AM Best Co., an insurance research and rating firm. 'It's premature to say this will be the next asbestos,' says John Iten, a director in the North American insurance ratings group of Standard & Poor's. 'But it's certainly somewhat disquieting to hear the number of claims is increasing.' At least 1.7 million US workers are exposed to inhalable silica, according to the government’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Robert P Hartwig, senior vice president and chief economist for the insurance industry's Insurance Information Institute, said: 'Insurers are going to be very careful that the silica cat does not get out of the bag the way asbestos did. We've been there, done that.' Plaintiffs' attorneys have been providing lung screenings for silica damage, often through unions.
http://www.ctnow.com/services/site/premium/access-registered.intercept (Reg Free)
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BOOK REVIEW
Who Should Pay for Medicare?
By Daniel Shaviro. 169 pp. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2004. $25. ISBN 0-226-75076-0.
Each year the Trustees of Medicare report on the current status and projected condition of the Medicare trust funds for the next 75 years. Usually, such events are hardly newsworthy, but this year's report was different. Program outlays rose so dramatically that the projected date of exhaustion of the Part A Trust Fund moved forward seven years, from 2026 to 2019. Correcting such an imbalance will not be easy. The trustees cite two options that demonstrate the severity of the problem: either increase the program's revenue by 108 percent or cut its outlays by 48 percent.
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/351/4/405-a?query=TOC
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