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  Taking The Hill

Posted 3/11/2010
By Clarence Mills

ASA Members Support Partial McCarran Repeal

ASA has urged its members to contact their federal representatives in Congress, supporting H.R. 3596, the Health Insurance Industry Antitrust Act.

The purpose of H.R. 3596 is to ensure that health insurance issuers and medical malpractice insurance issuers cannot engage in price fixing, bid rigging or market allocations to the detriment of competition and consumers. The bill aims to partially repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act.

ASA supports H.R. 3596, as it is a step in the right direction for a full repeal of McCarran. ASA is a long-time supporter of repealing McCarran as it applies to property and casualty insurers.

Automotive repairers have had a long experience of no federal recourse for insurer actions. Insurers have argued that this exemption allows them to keep insurance rates low. This is simply not the case. A competitive marketplace will only enhance consumer and small business options.

The state insurance regulatory structure has failed for consumers and automotive repairers. Without federal regulatory recourse, consumer and small business complaints are left to generally ill-equipped state regulators.

After years of complaints, many states lag in addressing important consumer and small business issues. These problems are increasing for consumers and repairers, not decreasing.

U.S. EPA Strengthens Nitrogen Dioxide Rules

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will strengthen its national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for nitrogen dioxide. The new standard aims to protect public health by decreasing respiratory-related illnesses. The proposed standards will set a new 1-hour NO2 standard at the level of 100 parts per billion (ppb). This level defines the maximum allowable concentration anywhere in an area.

The EPA reports that the standard will protect against adverse health effects associated with short-term exposure to NO2, including respiratory effects that can result in admission to a hospital.

To determine compliance with the proposed standard, the EPA is establishing new ambient air monitoring and reporting requirements for NO2.

In urban areas, monitors are required near major roads as well as in other locations where maximum concentrations are expected.

Additional monitors are required in large urban areas to measure the highest concentrations of NO2 that occur more broadly across communities.

Working with the states, the EPA will cite a subset of monitors in locations to help protect communities that are susceptible and vulnerable to NO2-related health effects.

Regulations.gov Easier to Access

In response to President Barack Obama's commitment to more open government, and as a result of public comments, the Web site Regulations.gov has been improved to facilitate easier access to federal regulations.

Regulations.gov is an online source for United States government regulations from nearly 300 federal agencies.

It provides users with multiple tools for researching and commenting on federal regulations. There are, on average, 8,000 regulations per year.

Specific improvements include a new rotating panel of images and video clips offering a preview to the latest Web site changes; a dashboard of regulatory documents housed on Regulations.gov; a new A-Z index of rules and proposed rules categorized by topic; instructional video-clips highlighting site functions; and improvements to the site's home page and search wizard.

Visit TakingTheHill.com
Get involved legislatively! To read about specific bills impacting the
automotive repair industry, go to www.TakingTheHill.com


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