April 27, 2009
Written by Paul Campbell and Maura Farrell
The Washington Post has reported that Congressional Democrats have reached a tentative agreement on President Obama’s $3.5 trillion budget, including reconciliation instructions which would allow health reform legislation to pass the Senate with only 51 votes. The agreement would charge each of the Committees with jurisdiction over authorization of healthcare legislation to find $1 billion in savings. If the agreement moves forward and is passed by the full House and the Senate (as expected), these “instructions” would allow for the Senate to bypass normal Senate parliamentary rules requiring 60 votes for approval. The tentative conference agreement would also extend for two years the Medicare physician payment “fix”. The extension reduces a budget savings needed for a complete repeal of the current payment methodology, which applies a sustainable growth rate (SGR) limit.
April 10, 2009
Barack Obama signed an executive order on April 8, 2009 to formally lay infrastructure in the executive branch to facilitate health care reform activities. The executive order officially creates the White House Office of Reform (the “Health Reform Office”) and lays out its principle functions, including coordination across executive departments and agencies, outreach activities with state and local policymakers, and working with Congress for the purpose of enacting and implementing health care reform. As we reported on March 6, 2009, Nancy Ann DeParle was selected to be the Director of the Health Reform Office. The order grants DeParle the discretion to work with “established or ad hoc” committees, task forces, or interagency groups. It remains to be seen how DeParle will use this authority to promote the goal of the Obama Administration to have an open, inclusive and transparent process for health care reform.
March 4, 2009
Updated from 2/25/09
On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1, S. 1) (the “Act”), which, among other things, amends the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”).
The Act provides:
- for a government subsidy of up to 65 percent of the COBRA premiums (including state “mini-COBRA” coverage) to certain eligible individuals (known as “assistance eligible individuals”);
- that the COBRA subsidy applies only to individuals who are eligible for COBRA due to an involuntary termination from employment from September 1, 2008, through December 31, 2009; and
- that the COBRA subsidy applies for a maximum of nine (9) months of coverage (beginning on March 1, 2009).
January 4, 2009
With the start of 2009, New Jersey employers may find it useful to review the notification requirements relating to employees’ workplace rights and responsibilities under both state and federal law.
Employers are mandated under both New Jersey and federal law to display official posters informing employees of the law relating to their rights and responsibilities. An employer who fails to comply with these requirements may face monetary fines or other penalties. Generally, to comply with these regulations, an employer must post the most recent version of the posters in locations visible to all employees and applicants for employment. Employers should display these notices in areas accessible to all employees, such as a lunchroom, break-room or human resources office. New Jersey also requires that certain of the notices be distributed to employees. This article serves as a reminder and summary of New Jersey’s notification requirements applicable to most employers.
December 3, 2008
The worldwide economy crisis is now a reality. All countries are suffering the effects, one more than others and no sector or industry is not shielded against it.
In my particular field of expertise, lawyers and law firms are taking different actions in respect with this particular issue. Without doing a deep analysis on those actions, here are some of them for you to comment on.
February 21, 2008
“Change is the only constant”, we were told since the begining of our education.
Lawyers are not the exception of the ever changing business environment and that´s why our clients needs and requests usually are as different and evolving as the markets.
Lawyers are supposed to be able to evolve with their clients, of course without safeguarding expertise and risking the integrity of the representation by going in unknown waters just to get the account.
June 26, 2007
In this information era where the internet and the ever changing technologies opens a door to a more interactive, effective and dynamic business world, legal practices are not the exception, but be aware it is a resource not the source.
Internet, document sharing, virtual conferences, and all the other tools, have given law practices a new dimension on clients service. The ability to share documents drafts, information, court decisions, articles and a lot more is making the job of the lawyers less time consuming and a lot speedier. As for the clients, specially the international corporations with branches or interests in different countries and regions, it gives them the chance to unify the legal services rendered to them, under the same “practice standards” in the various jurisdictions.
April 25, 2007
The constant buy-ins of “dot coms” and other internet related companies by the biggest players could impact the mentality of the future companies to come and would demand a better drafting of some legal documents.
December 4, 2006
I wish to share some ideas of what a client expect from an outside counsel. Please make an exam of yourself in each of these points and make a commitment to improve the needed areas. It will help us be better lawyers. What a clients expect in a Lawyer: