Insurance Companies Can't Get Obamacare Bailout Unless Congress Approves

Insurance companies made out pretty well with the passage of Obamacare.

For starters, they got guaranteed customers forever — thanks to the law's mandate that every American buy health insurance, either through their job or through one of the new exchanges.

Even if they ended up losing money because of all the new coverage the Affordable Care Act required them to provide, the insurance companies had a nifty little back-up plan: a provision in the ACA that allows the government to bail out any insurer that finds itself in the red before 2016.

Read more: Insurance Companies Can't Get Obamacare Bailout Unless Congress Approves

Oil Industry Opposes EPA Fracking Rules

Because there are no known contamination incidents from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) ever cited in the United States, is just one reason the North Dakota Industrial Commission is opposing the federal Environmental Protection Agency's proposed new rules.

Also, the Commission told the EPA, their proposed rulemaking on the disclosure of hydraulic chemicals is "unnecessary" since the state already has rules requiring chemical disclosure and environmental protection.

Read more: Oil Industry Opposes EPA Fracking Rules

SCORE Celebrates 50th Anniversary

During National Small Business Week – May 12-17, the U.S. Small Business Administration is recognizing SCORE for its 50th anniversary in providing volunteer counseling and mentoring to our nation's entrepreneurs.

SCORE, an SBA program, has served more than 10 million entrepreneurs since 1964, providing mentoring, counseling and coaching sessions for entrepreneurs and small business owners in its 50 year history. SCORE has a network of 320 chapter locations and 11,000 volunteer mentors throughout the country.

Read more: SCORE Celebrates 50th Anniversary

OSHA Issues New Rule Regarding Injury Incidents

 

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a final rule requiring employers to notify OSHA when an employee is killed on the job or suffers a work-related hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. The rule, which also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping regulations, will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, for workplaces under federal OSHA control.

"Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 4,405 workers were killed on the job in 2013. We can and must do more to keep America's workers safe and healthy," said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. The new regulations will hold employers accountable for preventing accidents.

Read more: OSHA Issues New Rule Regarding Injury Incidents

Feds Award Procurement Contracts

 

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the federal government awarded 23.39 percent in all federal contracts to small businesses totaling $83.1 billion of eligible contracting dollars.

When small businesses gain such contracts, it's a win-win for all concerned. "Small businesses get the revenue they need to grow and create jobs, and the federal government gets the chance to work with some of the most responsive, innovative and nimble companies in the U.S. while the economy grows," said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

Read more: Feds Award Procurement Contracts

SBA Seminars for Women in Business

Women business owners are invited to learn more about increasing opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the federal contracting arena through free Office Hours Webinars hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration each Tuesday and Thursday through June 26 at 12 p.m..

SBA's Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program presents an opportunity for small businesses to increase their presence in the federal marketplace. The federal government is the biggest buyer in the world and is a must-have customer for women-owned companies.

The hour-long webinars will be led by SBA officials, and will help to answer questions and give valuable insight to women entrepreneurs on doing business in the federal marketplace.

The schedule for the SBA Office Hours Webinars on Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program beginsMay 20 and is held on each Tuesday and Thursday:

* Tuesday, May 20th, 27th, June 3rd, June 10th, June 17th, and June 24th

* Thursday, May 15th, 22nd, 29th, June 5th, June 12th, June 19th, and June 26th

* 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Registration is free, but required. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

to sign up. To learn more about the SBA's Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, visit http:// www. sba.gov/ content/ women- owned- small- business- federal- contract- program.

Minnesota Insurance Program "Takes turn for the worse."

The prognosis for Minnesota's state health insurance exchange, MNsure, took a turn for the worse, as the provider offering some of the lowest premiums in the country opted out of the program, amid financial concerns.

PreferredOne, the insurance company with MNsure's most private insurance enrollees and cheapest rates, pulled the plug on participation in the state exchange at the end of the year, leaving 24,000 Minnesotans to search for coverage all over again.

"Continuing to provide this coverage through MNsure is not sustainable," PreferredOne CEO Marcus Merz wrote in a letter to MNsure officials. Health care analysts say PreferredOne's departure stands out as one of the biggest provider failures among state health insurance exchanges to date.

Veterans' Cemetery Goes National

Yellowstone County Veteran's Cemetery was turned over to the federal government by resolution of the Yellowstone County Commissioners, a few days prior to being dedicated as the Yellowstone National Veteran's Cemetery in ceremonies on Memorial Day. The cemetery is located just north of Laurel.

"After ten years I am quite pleased," said Bert Gigoux, Chairman of the Yellowstone County Veteran's Cemetery Board, which has shepherded the process of creating the cemetery to standards that would allow the United States Veteran's Administration to assume it as a national cemetery. It will be Montana's only open National Veteran's Cemetery.

Read more: Veterans' Cemetery Goes National

R&D Bills Passes House

On May 9, the House voted to improve and make permanent the R&D tax credit – which Congress has renewed 14 times – by passing the American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2014, H.R. 4438.

Small businesses will especially benefit from H.R. 4438 says SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan. She noted, "Making permanent tax incentives that encourage investment – particularly on R&D – would align with how entrepreneurs plan, and how they can capture expenses to take advantage of the credit. H.R. 4438 will allow small firms to more confidently plan for expenditures on hiring and investment, which specifically relate to R&D. This will make them more competitive, while encouraging hiring and spending that enable innovation and economic growth."

The Senate Finance Committee approved a two-year renewal of the credit, along with the extension of 55 other tax provisions that expired at the end of 2013.

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