A Periodic Newsletter of the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association
Vol. 14 #1
Editor of Inbrief Tasha Sossamon Taylor Graphic Design Anna Hubbard
Young Lawyers Section Chair: Anthony W. Juneau Chair-Elect: Brandon K. Moffitt Sec-Treas: Courtney Crouch Immediate Past Chair: Gwendolyn L. Rucker Executive Council: Central: Tasha Sossamon Taylor (2010) Brandon K. Moffitt (2011) Grant M. Cox (2012)
in this issue YLS News
National Health Care Reform’s Impact on Arkansas Employers by Tessica Dooley
South and East: J. Edward (“Eddy”) Doman (2010) John Houseal (2011) Brian M. Clary (2012) Northwestern: Vicki S. Vasser (2010) L. Matt Davis (2011) Brian R. Lester (2012) At Large Representatives: Brendan T. Monaghan (2010) Cliff McKinney (2011) Melissa N. Sawyer (2012) Law Student Representatives: University of Arkansas at Fayetteville School of Law: Austin Easley UALR William H. Bowen School of Law: Aimie Lockwood
Become a fan! Join the Group! Arkbar Young Lawyers Section
YLS News Qualifications for YLS Chair-Elect, Secretary/Treasurer & District Representatives Nominating petitions Must be Filed by April 1, 2010 The YLS Officers shall be elected by the majority of those present and voting at the annual meeting of the Young Lawyers Section, which will occur on June 11, 2010 during the Annual Meeting of the Association in Hot Springs. The Chair-Elect for 2010-11 will be nominated from District B. For more information on nominations and qualifications of officers go to http://www.arkbar.com/whats_new/2010_YLS_Nominations.pdf For a nominating petition go to http://www.arkbar.com/whats_new/2010_YLS_Nominating_Petition.pdf
Make Plans to attend the YLS Sponsored CLE and YLS Meeting during the Annual Meeting on Friday afternoon, June 11, 2010 2010 Annual Meeting Program Preview now available! Go to: http://www.arkbar.com/members/2010_Annual_Meeting_ ProgramPreview.pdf
J. Cliff McKinney II, Chosen as the Recipient of the Judith Ryan Gray Young Lawyer Service Award J. Cliff McKinney II, a Member of Quattlebaum, Grooms, Tull & Burrow PLLC, was recently chosen at the Mid-Year Meeting of the Arkansas Bar Association held on January 21 – 22, 2010, in Memphis, Tennessee as the recipient of the Judith Ryan Gray Young Lawyer Service Award Mr. McKinney received the Award for his extraordinary service and contributions directed toward improving the administration of justice and promoting the public welfare on behalf of the Arkansas Bar Association. Judith Gray, namesake of the award, was hired by the Arkansas Bar Association in 1967 and for 40 years dedicated herself to ensuring that each Bar member was respected and valued. She worked tirelessly to better the legal profession and the Arkansas Bar Association. 2
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CLE Calendar Environmental Law May 7-8, 2010, Rogers 112th Annual Meeting June 9-12, 2010, Arlington Hotel & Hot Springs Convention Center Best of CLE June 21-25, 2010, Little Rock Best of CLE - Northwest June 29-30, 2010, Springdale
One-Hour Webinars Noon - 1:00 p.m. March 31, 2010 Practice Crisis Prevention in the Internet Age April 21, 2010 FTC’s Red Flag Rules and Identity Theft – Preparing for Enforcement April 28, 2010 Overview of the 2009 Revisions to the Arkansas Title Standards May 12, 2010 Ethics of Equal Protection Law May 19, 2010 FTC’s Red Flag Rules and Identity Theft – ROI on Ethics and Compliance
Three-Hour Live Seminars at the Arkansas Bar Center April 9, 2010 a.m. Bankruptcy Basics April 9, 2010 p.m. Military Families and Their Benefits April 27, 2010 Financial Due Diligence and Portfolio Management in Real Estate & Advanced 1031 Exchange Issues & Maximizing Tax Benefits & Cash Flow through Cost Segregation
Hats Off Justin Minton and his wife, Sally, are expecting their third child. They currently have two boys—Carter, age 6, and Caden, age 2. Also, Justin recently opened his own firm, Minton Law Firm, in Bryant, where his practice primarily consists of personal injury litigation.
Courtney N. Little and his wife, Erika, welcomed a new daughter (Ella Suzanne Little) into their family on December 14, 2009.
State Representative Dan Greenberg is currently a candidate for State Senate. Also, because of his work on constitutional reform, Rep. Dan Greenberg received First Place in the National Review Institute’s 2010 challenge. This nationwide award from National Review, the respected conservative magazine, came with a $2,010 cash prize for producing the best new conservative ideas in the United States.
Jason A. Stuart has been appointed by Governor Mike Beebe as a Commissioner for the Arkansas State Athletic Commission.
Robin Sullivan finished her term as law clerk for Judge Audrey R. Evans, and has joined Lyndsey Dilks in the Bankruptcy Division of the Brad Hendricks Law Firm. The Chaney Law Firm in Arkadelphia, Arkansas is pleased to announce that Nathan Chaney, Hilary Chaney, and Taylor Chaney have joined the firm. The firm continues to focus on personal injury law, and has expanded its intellectual property and social security disability practice. Matthew Harward and his wife, Christy, had twins on October 30, 2009. Their two new boys are named Jimmy and Seth. Jackson Tyler Blackwell was recently employed as an Attorney Specialist with the Office of Child Support in the Forrest City Regional office. Prior to accepting this position, Jackson was a staff attorney with Legal Aid. Raney English Coleman of Wilcox, Parker, Hurst, Lancaster & Lacy, PLC and her husband, Randy, welcomed their second child, Campbell AnnaGrace, on November 17, 2009. Melissa Wood and her husband, Greg, recently had twins on February 12, 2010. Their names are Riley Elizabeth and Tyson Jack.
Erin S. Brogdon and her husband, Jay, welcomed a son (James Hoover Brogdon) into their family on January 22, 2010.
The American Bar Association recently published A Brief Review of a Federal Abstention Doctrine written by Brandon Harrison. Effective January 1, 2010, Johnnie Copeland became a partner at the firm where she has been since 2005. The firm is now named Ethredge & Copeland, P.A. Johnnie can be reached at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Marjorie Fisher of the James Law Firm is engaged to be married to Brian Rogers. Birc Morledge of the James Law Firm is engaged to be married to Amy Patterson. Todd Van Es and his wife, Jennie, had their third child on February 12, 2009 (Laney Beth Van Es). Toney Brasuell was married to the former Cris Carpenter on March 6, 2010. Toney is an attorney at the James Law Firm and Cris is a paralegal with the Laser Law Firm. Matthew L. Fryar and his wife, Cori, welcomed a daughter, Kathryn Elizabeth, on November 3, 2009. Matthew and his family live in Springdale, and Matthew is an associate with Cypert, Crouch, Clark & Harwell, PLLC. Congratulations to Nina Samuels Carter, employed as an Associate Counsel in the Legal Division of the Arkansas Insurance Department, Little Rock. She and husband, Thad, just had twin girls (their first children) in January, 2010.
Jamie Huffman Jones was named a partner at Friday, Eldredge & Clark effective January 1, 2010. Jamie and her husband, David, are expecting their first child, a daughter, in June. Jacob O. Malatesta has joined the Greenville, Mississippi office of Wilkins Tipton, P.A.
If you have information on YLS Members who deserve a “Hat’s Off” or would like to submit ideas for articles, please contact the editor of “In Brief,” Tasha Taylor at email@example.com. Vol.13 No. 2/Spring 2009 YLS In brief
YLS Party on the Terrace
A great way to wrap up the Annual Meeting Friday, June 11, 2010 8:00 p.m. On the Terrace at The Springs Hotel & Spa one block from the Arlington Fun, Food, Refreshments & DJ!
National Health Care Reform’s Impact on Arkansas Employers by Tessica Dooley National health care reform is currently a topic of great interest and concern for many Americans. Specifically, American employers both large and small have voiced concern, interest, support and dissatisfaction regarding the potential effect that health care reform could have on business.1 The state of Arkansas proudly boasts an amazing profile of industry leading companies. To name a few, Arkansas hosts Acxiom Corporation, one of the leading information management services providers; Dillard’s Inc., one of the top department store chains in the country; J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., a $3 billion leader among trucking and freight companies; Murphy Oil Corporation, one of the world’s most successful oil companies; Tyson Foods, Inc., now the world’s largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the world’s largest company with more than $374 billion in revenue; and Windstream Corporation, the biggest rural exchange carrier in the country, with 3.3 million access lines in 16 states.2 Additionally, Arkansas hosts a myriad of small businesses. As Arkansas hosts a wealth of employers, it is important for Arkansans to understand the potential that health care reform could have on the employers that are fundamental to the fiscal health of the state. This article will provide a brief overview and analysis of certain provisions in the health care reform legislation that have been passed in the United States Congress that could affect Arkansas employers. Why Health Care Reform? Why is national health care reform an important issue for Arkansas employers? The short answer to the question is that employer health insurance coverage is a major expense for employers. The National Association of Manufacturers Executive Vice President Jay Timmons stated in an interview with Area Development Online that “any healthcare reform needs to enable employers to continue offering flexible health benefits without increasing the cost of doing business.”3 Employers are concerned about the ability to continue offering health benefits due to the
annual trend of significant increase in cost. In 2010, U.S. employers have seen a 7% increase in the cost to provide health benefits to employees. The Towers Perrin annual Health Care Cost Survey stated that the 7% increase in medical benefit expenditures in 2010, will mark the sixth consecutive year of increases. The 7% increase will mean recordhigh medical benefit costs for both employers and employees. The average cost to provide medical benefits in 2010, per employee, will cross the $10,000 mark. Employers will continue to fund on average 78% of the $10,000 per employee cost. Employers find themselves forced annually to reconfigure the shape of benefit plan designs offered to employees to try and recoup or at least maintain expenditures on health benefits. However, employers can only do so much with benefit design to curtail costs, without significant increases in cost to the employees. If the current trend continues, and there is no indication that it will not, it will become increasingly difficult for employers to fund health benefits for employees at any percentage rate.4 Not only the budgets of employers are at stake, but more broadly the very budget of the U.S. is in jeopardy due to the rising cost of health care. The Director of the Congressional Budget Office stated “the federal budget is on an unsustainable path, primarily because of the rising cost of health care and the aging of the U.S. population.”5 Reform to health care in the United States is necessary and inevitable; however the methods of reform are the hot button political issues. Current Congressional Methods On November 7, 2009, the United
States House of Representatives passed the America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 (H.R. 3962). On December 24, 2009, the United States Senate passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). Both bills proffer to reform national health care in some way. Each bill contains provisions that would likely affect Arkansas employers. Some of the most applicable provisions and potential implications are detailed below. Employer Mandate Both bills contain so-called play or pay penalty provisions to be assessed against employers that employ a certain number of employees or generate a certain dollar amount of annual payroll dollars. Under the House bill, employers that employee fewer than 50 people would be exempt from requirements to provide health insurance coverage. The House bill would assess a penalty of $750 per full-time employee on employers of 50 or more employees that do not offer health insurance and at least one full-time employee utilizes a premium tax credit. The federal government will offer a premium tax credit, which is a credit toward individual income taxes, to offset the cost of premiums paid for health insurance, to individuals paying a certain percentage amount of their taxable income for health insurance. This percentage has yet to be determined. If an employer of 50 or more people provides health insurance but still has a full-time employee who utilizes a premium tax credit, the employer will be assessed the lesser of $3,000 per employee Health Care continued on page 8
Tessica Dooley is ERISA counsel for Windstream Corporation, a company headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Vol. 13 No. 2/Spring 2009 YLS In brief
Arkansas Bar Association 112th Annual Meeting Joint Meeting with the Arkansas Judicial Council June 9-12, 2010
Raising the Bar
with Tradition, Integrity & Trust
The Arkansas Bar Association has an honored tradition of making a difference in the lives of Arkansans. Its mission includes fostering and maintaining on the part of attorneys the high ideals of integrity, competence, and honor of the legal profession. Whether you are a senior partner, a solo practitioner, in-house counsel, a government attorney, or a young lawyer, this year’s Annual Meeting will undoubtedly have something for you. With the 2010 Annual Meeting, we have not only raised the bar with new tracks and additional venues, but also with programming designed to enhance both your personal and professional lives. In addition to the customary four tracks – family, professional development, litigation/trial and business – there will be a broad spectrum of CLE that will cover a host of topics designed to educate you on various facets of your practice, including law practice management, public service, appellate advocacy, technology, and much more. We will have our first “State of the Arkansas Judiciary” address delivered by Chief Justice Hannah, along with a keynote program with nationally-recognized speaker Robin Crow on the power of service through leadership. We will discuss how lawyers make a difference through public office with members of the Arkansas legislature, and we have created our very own “CSI Arkansas” classes about the latest information on computer forensics, e-discovery, and crime scene investigation. There will be a “house call” with inhouse counsel from some of the largest companies in the country, and then we will “call the Hogs” with Professor Howard Brill and his presentation on “The Razorbacks, the NCAA and the Law.” Stephen Baskerville will explain the intricacies of “shared parenting” while Charles Owen teaches us how to make “winning presentations.” Of course, no Annual Meeting could be complete without a look at how Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter have changed the way we practice. If this is not enough, wait until you lounge and learn in the Magnolia room and see the “Hollywood” glamour in the Exhibit Hall and at the President’s Gala. The afternoon receptions by the pool are back, and don’t be surprised if you locate a scotch and cigar bar, fashion show, and a few flavorful martinis along the way. Ladies, come be a queen for a day and bring your princess for a special pageantry surprise. The revamped children’s program will celebrate the arts and showcase the kids’ painting, performing, and production abilities. So what are you waiting for? Register now! You don’t want to miss a thing. Hotel Information
Register Now at www.arkbar.com for a discount Please make reservations with the hotel of your choice: Arlington Hotel: (501) 609-2533 Austin Hotel: (877) 623-6697 Embassy Suites: (501) 321-4407
Park Hotel: (800) 895-7275 The Springs Hotel & Spa (newly renovated): (501) 624-5521 The Comfort Suites (free shuttle) (501) 624-3800 You are encouraged to make your reservations early — hotels will book quickly. Ask for the Annual Meeting Group Rate. 6 6
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Watch www.arkbar.com and your e-bulletins for links to more area hotels. Look for the complete Annual Meeting Program in April with more information on speakers and events. CLE credits pending and times subject to change. Go to www.arkbar.com to register with a discount! Cover Art This year’s Annual Meeting artwork honors the Association’s heritage with a spectacular picture mosaic of photographs of the Arkansas Bar Association and Arkansas Bar Foundation presidents. Their individual photos have been combined into a collage overlayed with the Association’s seal symbolizing Tradition, Integrity and Trust since 1898. Look for the large framed artwork at the Annual Meeting. The mosaic was created by www.picutremosaics.com.
Arkansas Bar Association Annual Meeting Registration Form
Registrant Name: ____________________________________________
Member Online Registration
Supreme Court #: ____________________________________________
Discount for registering at www.arkbar.com
Address: _____________________________________________________ Member Early Registration (Received by May 31)
____ @ $250 EACH
Member Registration (Received After May 31)
____ @ $300 EACH
____ @ $450 EACH
____ @ $35 EACH
City: __________________________ State: __________ Zip:__________ Phone: (______) ____________________ Fax: ______________________
Law Student Section Member Badge Name: __________________________________________________ Please ✔ check for ribbons: Young Lawyer Past President Foundation Fellow House of Delegates Assn. Sustaining Member ABF Sustaining Fellow Board of Governors Judge Legislator
Registration Includes all CLE Programs (except CNA), Electronic Course Materials, Receptions, Continental Breakfasts, Luncheons, Breaks, Hospitality Area, Exhibit Center, & Entertainment. CNA Risk Management for Lawyers Program Wednesday Afternoon 1:30 Separate Registration
____ @ $90 EACH
____ @ $50 EACH
Child(ren)’s Name(s): _________________________________________
Guest or Spouse Registration (Optional events and course material not included)
Registered Spouse/Guest Badge Information Spouse/Guest Name: ________________________________________
2010 Annual Meeting Three Easy Ways to Register: Online: Fax:
Hot Springs Convention Center Attn: Elaine Musil P.O. Box 6000 Hot Springs, AR 71902
Meeting Registration Subtotal
@ $20 First Child
@ $10 Each Additional Child $ __________
*Non-members -- save on registration fee by joining the Association. For more information call (501) 375-4606 or (800) 609-5668.
Discount for registering online! REGISTRATION DESK: Registration will be held in the Arlington Exhibit Hall and the Hot Springs Convention Center. EVALUATIONS: Please tell us what you think of the meeting by taking the online evaluation during or following the meeting. We will email you the link. ADDITIONAL REGISTRATIONS: Look for the Wednesday afternoon golf tournament and Friday morning 5K registrations on www.arkbar.com. HOTEL RESERVATIONS: Go to www.arkbar.com for a complete listing of area hotels. CANCELLATIONS - Full refunds, less a $50 administrative charge, will be given to registrants whose cancellation is received at least two weeks before the program begins. If you do not cancel and do not attend, you will receive the electronic course materials only.
Ladies Small & Tall Royal Treatment ____ @ $20 Each Thurs. & Friday afternoon
Gentlemen’s Scotch & Cigars Thurs. & Friday afternoon
____ @ $20 Each
$ ___________ $ ___________
Desserts and Dancing only
____ @ $25 Each ____ @ $10 Each
Optional Events Subtotal
President’s Friday Night Gala Dinner, Desserts, Dancing
$ Payment Information
Card No.: ______________________________________________________ Exp. Date: ______________________________________________________ Daytime Phone #: ______________________________________________ Signature: ______________________________________________________ Make check payable to Arkansas Bar Association
Vol. 14 No. 1 YLS In brief
Health Care continued from page 5
who obtained a premium tax credit or a $750 penalty per each full-time employee. The House bill seeks to minimize the number of employees offered employer sponsored health insurance that must utilize the premium tax credit. If the employer imposes a waiting period for health insurance coverage, the House bill would assess a $400 penalty for each full-time employee affected by a 30 to 60 day waiting period, and a $600 penalty for each full-time employee affected by a 60 to 90 day waiting period. The House bill would be effective as of January 1, 2014.6 The Senate bill assesses penalties on employers that have an annual payroll of $750,000 or more but do not offer health insurance. The penalty would be in the amount of 8% of the amount paid in annual payroll. Employers that have an annual payroll of less than $500,000 are exempt from requirements to provide health insurance coverage. Employers whose annual payroll is between $500,000 and $750,000 are assessed penalties based on specific dollar gradients, with percentages ranging from 2% of the amount paid in annual payroll for the lowest gradient to 6% in the highest gradient. The Senate bill requires employers to contribute at least 72.5% of premium payment for employee only health insurance coverage and at least 65% of premium payment for employee and family health insurance coverage. These percentages are based upon the cost of the least expensive plan the employer offers that meets standard federal benefit requirements. Employers that do not provide health insurance that meets federal requirements, or do not contribute the minimum required premium contribution, would be required to pay the applicable percentage according to the amount paid in annual payroll to the Health Insurance Exchange Trust Fund. The Senate bill would be effective as of January 1, 2013.7 While both bills assess penalties on employers who do not offer health insurance coverage that is both adequate according to federal standards and affordable, these penalties only apply to large employers. The play or pay penalties may lead more large employers to offer employer sponsored health insurance coverage. The penalties may also lead to more large employers offering valuable health insurance coverage at an affordable cost. Currently employers that offer quality affordable health insurance coverage to their employees often feel penalized due to being required to carry other employers’ medical freight. That is, 8
YLS In brief
many employers do not offer health insurance coverage, offer insufficient coverage, or offer coverage at an exorbitant price. Therefore employees and employees’ dependents that are not provided quality affordable health insurance disproportionately elect coverage from employers that do offer quality affordable health insurance. This leads to increased cost for employers that choose to provide health insurance for their employees and their dependents. However, small employers will be exempt from play or pay provisions in both bills, leaving it still possible that large employers will carry medical freight left by small employers. A possibility exists that the penalties imposed by the bills would not be significant enough to force employers to offer coverage. The Tri-Committee House staff, a group made up of staff members from the House Committees on Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and Labor created a comparison chart of key provisions in the House and Senate bills. The comparison chart indicates that the House bill would create a total employer payment, in lieu of providing required health insurance coverage, in the amount of $135 billion, while the Senate bill would create a total employer payment, in lieu of providing coverage, in the amount of $28 billion. Based upon cost perspective alone, it appears that the House bill would be most likely to induce employers to provide quality affordable health insurance to employees. Reports prepared by the Chief Actuary for the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services indicate that the House bill would increase employer sponsored health insurance coverage for about 2.5 million Americans, while the Senate bill would decrease the employer sponsored health insurance coverage for approximately 4 million Americans.8 Individual Mandate Both the Senate and House bill would implement a requirement for all U.S. citizens to maintain health insurance or face a penalty. The Senate bill would require U.S. citizens, nationals, and legal residents to maintain a minimum “essential coverage” for themselves and their tax dependents or pay an annual penalty based upon household income.9 Beginning after 2016, the penalty will be increased annually by the cost-of-living adjustment. Exemptions will be granted for financial hardship, religious objections, American Indians, those without coverage for less than three months, undocumented immigrants, and incarcerated individuals.”10
The House bill would require all U.S. adult residents to obtain and retain “acceptable coverage” for themselves and their qualifying dependent children according to IRS guidelines.11 For those who do not have acceptable coverage, a penalty will be assessed. Exceptions under the House bill are carved out for households with incomes below the IRS income tax filing threshold, religious objections and financial hardship.12 With individuals facing an imposed penalty from the federal government, the outcry for employer sponsored health care would more than likely increase. Employers may face harsh criticism, loss of workforce and actions by unions for not providing health insurance, as an employer not providing health insurance may be seen as subjecting the workforce to individualized governmental penalties. More employees are likely to enroll in employer sponsored health insurance coverage if they are facing a penalty. An increase in enrolled participants could lead to higher cost for employers to provide health insurance coverage. Many health insurance companies base an employer’s plan cost on the number of participants enrolled in the plan. The plan cost is contractually subject to change when there is a substantial change in the number of enrolled participants. Employers may have to examine reducing the comprehensiveness of the plan design or passing along the increase in cost to plan participants to be able to maintain employer sponsored health insurance coverage. Insurance Exchanges A health insurance exchange is “a government-regulated marketplace of insurance plans with different tiers, or levels of coverage, offered to individuals without health care or to small companies.”13 Ideally the Federal health insurance exchange would provide side-by-side comparisons of plans thereby providing transparency for the consumer. This would lead to health insurance companies competing for the consumers’ business and hopefully would drive down the cost of coverage. All plans offered through the exchange would have to at least provide the minimum required Federal standard of benefits. Therefore all consumers buying insurance coverage from the exchange would be assured that the most basic, least expensive plan offered would be comprehensive. Both the Senate and House bill would implement a health insurance exchange. The Senate bill would implement state-based American Health Exchanges that would be available to U.S. citizens and small employ-
ers with fewer than 100 employees to purchase health insurance plans that meet at least the minimum required Federal standard of benefits. Funding for the implementation of American Health Exchanges would be available immediately after enactment until January 1, 2015. Grant funding for the implementation process will cease after January 1, 2015, as a mechanism to encourage that states will have completed implementation of the American Health Exchange by that date. In 2017 states would be permitted to allow employers with more than 100 employees to purchase health insurance plans through the exchange. Coverage through the exchange would be provided in benefit categories. Each category of coverage would meet the minimum required Federal standard, but additional benefits would be available at a higher cost if desired. Approximately 21 million U.S. citizens would obtain health insurance coverage through the exchange, with a majority qualifying for Federal premium and cost-sharing subsidies.14 The House bill would implement a National Health Insurance Exchange that would offer both private insurance plans and a public option plan for purchase by individuals, small employers, and, eventually, larger employers. Coverage through the exchange would be available in four different categories. Each category of coverage meets the minimum required federal standard, but additional benefits would be available at a higher cost if desired. Regulation would set the amount that the cost of plans offered through the exchange could increase on an annual basis. Approximately 10 million U.S. citizens would obtain health insurance coverage through the exchange. Additionally another 15 million U.S. citizens that already have individual health insurance policies are likely to switch to an exchange plan. It is estimated that 25% of those that obtain coverage through the exchange would opt for the public option plan.15 Employer Subsidies Small employers and employers that provide retiree health insurance coverage would be eligible under the Senate and House bill for premium subsidies. The Senate bill would allow small employers, defined as employers with no more than 25 employees and average wages paid annually of less than $50,000, to purchase health insurance for employees with a tax credit. The tax credit would be provided to employers ranging on a sliding scale, with the maximum tax credit for health
insurance cost going to employers with no more than 10 employees and average wages paid annually of less than $25,000. The tax credit would be implemented in two phases, with the first phase being for tax years 2010 through 2013 and the second phase being implemented for tax years 2014 and later.16 Additionally, the Senate bill would “create a temporary reinsurance program for employers providing health insurance coverage to retirees over age 55 who are not eligible for Medicare.”17 The reinsurance program would reimburse employers or insurers up to 80% of retiree claims incurred between $15,000 and $90,000. This provision would be effective from 90 days following the enactment of the bill through January 1, 2014. The House bill would provide small employers, defined as employers with less than 25 employees and average wages paid annually that are less than $40,000, a tax credit for up to two years. The tax credit would be provided to employers ranging on a sliding scale, with the maximum tax credit of 50% of premium costs paid going to employers with no more than 10 employees and average wages paid annually that are less than $20,000. This provision would be effective January 1, 2013. The House bill would also create a temporary reinsurance program, in which employers who provide health insurance coverage to retirees over age 55 who are not eligible for Medicare would be able to participate. The House bill would also provide employers reimbursement of up to 80% of retiree claims incurred between $15,000 and $90,000. This provision would be effective 90 days following the enactment of the bill; however unlike the Senate bill there is no termination date in the House bill for this provision. Employer subsidies as outlined by the Senate and House bill would be an incentive to small employers to provide health insurance to employees. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that small employers tax credit would help reduce the cost of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage by 8% to 11%. Many small employers cite cost concerns as a reason for not providing health insurance coverage to employees; therefore a tax credit could be a great incentive.18 Employer provided health insurance coverage for retirees is financially taxing. A report prepared by the United States General Accounting Office in 2001 indicated that there had been a steady decline in employer-sponsored health insurance coverage for
retirees in the last 5 years.19 The report also predicted that the decline would continue. Employers are faced with the tough decision of how to limit their liability for retiree health costs in ways other than terminating benefits. Many employers have been forced to increase the retirees’ share of cost paid for health insurance to control health care expenditures. While potentially temporary, a reinsurance program could be the lifeline that some employers need to be able to continue retiree health insurance benefits for those retirees that are over age 55, but not yet eligible for Medicare. Uncertainty of Health Care Reform As of December 24, 2009, when the Senate passed its version of health care reform legislation, it appeared as if some combination of the House and Senate bills would be signed into law. However, on January 19, 2010, Scott Brown, the Republican nominee for Senator Ted Kennedy’s vacant Massachusetts senatorial seat, won the special election. Senator Brown’s election breaks the Democrat Party’s 60-vote, filibuster-proof, majority. As a result, the future of the health care bill is uncertain. However, whether or not health care reform legislation is signed into law this year or ever, the issues underlying the debate over health care reform in America will continue to affect Arkansas employers both large and small. Endnotes 1. 100 Small Business Owners Discuss Health Care Reform, available at http://democrats. senate.gov/multimedia/110309_healthcare. cfm (November 3, 2009); Leslie Dach, Walmart Stores Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Government Relations, Walmart Statement Regarding Health Care Reform, available at http://walmartstores. com/FactsNews/NewsRoom/9238.aspx (July 16, 2009). 2. Arkansas Business, Company Profiles, available at http://www.arkansasbusiness. com/research_profile.asp (last accessed February 24, 2010). 3. Monique C. Silverio, Healthcare Reform: How Will It Affect Business, http://www.areadevelopment.com/EconomicsGovernmentPolicy/ Nov09/healthcare-reform9.shtml (November 2009). 4. Id.; John Tozzi, Health-Care Debate: Issues for Small Business, http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/may2009/ sb2009054_796186.htm (May 4, 2009). 5. Congressional Budget Office, Health, Vol. 14 No. 1 YLS In brief
available at http://www.cbo.gov/publications/ collections/health.cfm (last accessed February 24, 2010). 6. Kaiser Family Foundation, Side-by-Side Comparison of Major Health Care Reform Proposals, available at http://www.kff.org/ healthreform/sidebyside.cfm (last accessed February 24, 2010). 7. Id. 8. Richard S. Foster, Estimated Financial Effects of the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009” (H.R. 3962), as Passed by the House on November 7, 2009, http://www. cms.hhs.gov/ActuarialStudies/Downloads/ HR3962_2009-11-13.pdf (November 13, 2009). Richard S. Foster, Estimated Financial Effects of the “Patients Protection and Affordable Care Act,” as Passed by the Senate on December 24, 2009, http://www.politico.com/static/ PPM130_oact_memorandum_on_senate_ bill_as_passed_01-08-09.html (January 8, 2010). 9. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590, 111th Cong. (2009), available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/ cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_ bills&docid=f:h3590pp.txt.pdf 10. Kaiser Family Foundation, supra note 7. 11. America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, H.R. 3962, 111th Cong. (2009), available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/ cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_ bills&docid=f:h3962eh.txt.pdf. 12. Kaiser Family Foundation, supra note 7. 13. Derek Thompson, What is the Health Insurance Exchange?, available at http://business.theatlantic.com/2009/09/what_is_the_ health_insurance_exchange.php (September 17, 2009). 14. Richard S. Foster, Estimated Financial Effects of the “Patients Protection and Affordable Care Act,” as Passed by the Senate on December 24, 2009, supra note 9. 15. Richard S. Foster, Estimated Financial Effects of the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009” (H.R. 3962), as Passed by the House on November 7, 2009, supra note 9. 16. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, H.R. 3590, 111th Cong. (2009). 17. Kaiser, supra note 7. 18. Monique C. Silverio, supra note 3. 19. United States General Accounting Office, Retiree Health Benefits Employer-Sponsored Benefits May Be Vulnerable to Further Erosion, http://www.gao.gov/new.items/ d01374.pdf (May 2001). n
YLS In brief
YLS Events at the Annual Meeting Friday, June 11, 2010 Financial Planning for Young Lawyers 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Fountain Room Arlington Hotel
Calvin Biggers Matthew White Imagine your practice without you, without your partner, without a valuable employee. Consider how these changes could affect you, your family, and the families of your clients and employees permanently. Join us as we address what is necessary for the preservation of your success.
YLS Section Meeting 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Fountain Room Arlington Hotel Enjoy refreshments while you vote on new officers.
YLS Party on the Terrace 8:00 p.m. The Springs Hotel & Spa one block from the Arlington
Young Lawyers Section Report
by Anthony W. Juneau
Originally printed in the Winter 2010 issue of The Arkansas Lawyer magazine.
Community Service: Our Responsibility
k for ndboo s al Ha n A Leg g Arkansa Youn
Law Day May 1, 2010 tion
First Edi tion ed by Prepar Associa as Bar s Section Arkans Lawyer Young
Over the last several months, the Young Lawyers Section (“YLS”) has been planning the Wills For Heroes Project (“Project”). Through the Project, the YLS will offer free wills to police officers, firefighters, and other first responders (“Heroes”) in Arkansas. On February 20, 2010, the YLS will hold its first session of the Project at the Arkansas State Police facilities in Springdale. At that time, each Hero in attendance will be provided with a valid will. On behalf of the YLS, I would like to thank Brian Lester, Ryan Pettigrew, Tim Meitzen, Steve Schrantz, Brandon Crawford, and Jean Langford for their work in putting this session together. Sessions of the Project will take place throughout other parts of the state within the next several months. Another significant project of the YLS is the distribution of YLS-published handbook entitled “18 & Life To Go: A Legal Handbook for Young Arkansans” (“Handbook”). The YLS’s goal is to make the Handbook available to each high school senior in the state of Arkansas. Under the leadership of Matt House, the YLS has applied for multiple grants in order to obtain financing to distribute the Handbook. Additionally, President Donna Pettus has appointed a Task Force, with Grant Cox serving as Chair, to develop strategies and funding sources necessary for the distribution of the Handbook. The Handbook, which explains Arkansas law on a variety of topics in easy-to-read language, is a great asset of the Association and will be very beneficial to young Arkansans for many
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years in the future. On January 22-23, 2010, many members of the YLS attended the Association’s Mid-Year Meeting in Memphis, Tennessee. Like all other attendees, the YLS members earned quality CLE hours and enjoyed the world-famous BBQ of the Rendezvous. The Mid-Year Meeting also serves as a precursor to the Annual Meeting, which will be held at the Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs. This year, the YLS will hold its meeting at The Springs Hotel & Spa on Friday, June 11, 2010. The Springs Hotel & Spa, which is only a short walk from the Arlington, has wonderful facilities available for our use. On Friday evening of the Annual Meeting, the YLS will host a social event at The Springs Hotel & Spa, where food and beverages will be served. Music and a karaoke machine will be provided by a local deejay. Several members of the YLS have requested that the YLS conduct more social activities. In response to these requests, I have appointed social chairs for each Bar District. The social chairs for the North and West District are Amanda Thomas, Alan Bryan, William Trentham, and Eric Berger. The social chairs for the Central District are Heather Goodson, Toney Brasuell, and Ben Brenner, while the social chairs for the South and East District are Serena Green and John Houseal. The social chairs are responsible for planning several events throughout the year for YLS members in their Bar Districts. Members of the YLS will be notified of these events via the listserv.
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The YLS newsletter, Inbrief, has evolved from a two-page two-color printed document into a multi-page full color online document under the guidance of Tasha Taylor, editor of Inbrief. The newsletter comes out quarterly and includes short articles by young lawyers and news announcements about YLS members. Inbrief is available on www.arkbar. com/whats_new. If you have information on YLS Members who deserve a “Hat’s Off” or would like to submit ideas for articles, please contact Tasha at email@example.com. The Executive Council is the governing body of the YLS and is responsible for its day-to-day activities. The Executive Council consists of the following: Tony Juneau, Chair; Brandon Moffitt, Chair-Elect; Gwen Rucker, Immediate Past Chair; Grant Cox; Tasha Sossamon Taylor; Brian Clary; Eddie Doman; John Houseal; Brian Lester; Vicki Vasser; Matt Davis; Melissa Sawyer; Cliff McKinney; Austin Easley (law student representative); and Aimie Lockwood (law student representative). The YLS consists of members of the Association under the age of thirty-six (36), as well as all members of the Association who have practiced law for less than five (5) years. Whether you live in Eudora or Bella Vista, Pocahontas or De Queen, or anywhere else in Arkansas, the YLS has volunteer opportunities for you. If you are interested in volunteering your abilities to the YLS, please feel free to contact me at 479-464-5657 or firstname.lastname@example.org. n
Vol. 14 No. 1 YLS In brief
A Periodic Newsletter of the Young Lawyers Section of the Arkansas Bar Association.