SEC Won't Fight Proxy Ruling; Many Slip From Middle Class

September 7 , 2011 - Here are the stories that the WorldatWork Public Policy team are reading today.

Health Plan Administrator Seeks to Exempt HRAs from Health Reform Law Research Fees
Workforce Management
A health plan administrator has asked the Internal Revenue Service to make it clear that health reimbursement arrangements are exempt from a fee on health insurance policies issued by insurers and self-funded employers. That fee—to be used to fund research on medical outcomes as part of the federal health care reform law—will be $1 per plan participant for the first plan year ending after Sept. 30, 2012, and $2 per participant in succeeding years. (Continued.)

S.E.C. Won’t Fight Proxy Ruling
The New York Times
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced late Tuesday that it would not dispute a recent court ruling that struck down one of the agency’s new rules for corporate America. In July, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected the S.E.C.’s so-called proxy access rule, which would have made it easier for shareholders to oust company directors and install their own candidates for the board. The rule stemmed from the Dodd-Frank Act, the financial regulatory overhaul enacted after the credit crisis. (Continued.)

Many in U.S. slip from middle class, study finds
The Washington Post
Michael Fletcher
Nearly one in three Americans who grew up middle-class has slipped down the income ladder as an adult, according to a new report by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Downward mobility is most common among middle-class people who are divorced or separated from their spouses, did not attend college, scored poorly on standardized tests, or used hard drugs, the report says. (Continued.)

Private Ideas on How to Create Jobs
The Wall Street Journal
Joe Light and Alan Murray
When President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of Congress on Thursday, he will face a business community both desperate for a boost in ailing sales and deeply skeptical of the government's ability to help. Pressure on politicians to act is growing. By any measure, the job market's recovery has been weak. Last Friday, the Labor Department reported that on balance no new U.S. jobs were created in August, the worst showing since last September, and well below the 125,000 needed to keep up with population growth. The White House's own projections call for unemployment to average 9% through 2012. (Continued.)

Sweating The Details: Health Reform Supporters Fret Over HHS Rules
Kaiser Health News
Mary Agnes Carey and Marilyn Werber Serafini
Publicly, consumer and patient advocates continue to cheer wildly for last year’s health care law. Behind the scenes, however, some worry that they are losing a few key battles to the insurance and business communities. They point to a long-sought provision in the law that entitles patients to an external review if an insurer won’t pay for a medical service, but charge that recent regulations limit its effectiveness. One of their biggest gripes? (Continued.)