The Iowa caucuses took place Monday night with Sen. Ted Cruz beating Donald Trump in the Republican race. In a surprise showing, Sen. Marco Rubio pulled strong numbers to come in just behind Trump for the third slot. On the Democratic side, former Sec. Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Sen. Bernie Sanders while former Gov. Martin O'Malley suspended his presidential bid after a poor showing in the caucus.
CAUCUS V. PRIMARY
In primary elections, register voters vote during their state's voting hours by selecting the candidate on a ballot. In caucuses, register voters gather at a specific time in groups to debate the candidates. Iowa, 11 other states, and three territories hold caucuses. Apparently, Iowans had to award some caucus delegates by a coin toss… hmmm.
FIELD OF DREAMS OR DREAM KILLER
The Iowa caucuses are the first time that voters select their candidate of choice. You don't have towin Iowa to win the presidential election. It can be enough to help build momentum for those candidates who are near the top. However, candidates who do not perform well at the Iowa caucuses quickly drop out of the race. Exit - Mike Huckabee and Martin O'Malley.
New Hampshire is next up and the first primary of the Presidential election. The next big date is March 1, 2016, also known as Super Tuesday, when the greatest number of states hold primary elections. This way to see the primary calendar and results.
IMPACT OF PENDING COURT CASES
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation released their 2015 Workers' Compensation Annual Report. Overall, Florida's workers' compensation system is competitive and has seen a decline in workers' compensation rates due to the 2003 reforms. However, the report noted the pending court casesattacking the constitutionality of Florida's Workers' Compensation Act and the potential to negatively impact the work comp system.
ORAL ARGUMENTS SCHEDULED
The Florida Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments on Stahl v. Hialeah Hospital for April 6th. This casefocuses on the question of whether the state's workers' compensation system should be the exclusive remedy for injured workers.
MAKING OUR WAY AROUND THE COUNTRY
The California Department of Industrial Relations announced that the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) will hold a public meeting to discuss creation of a workers' compensation drug formulary. Assembly Bill 1124 requires the adoption of a work comp formulary by July 1, 2017. The formulary is intended to combat the overutilization of opioids and other drugs. The meeting is scheduled on February 17, 2016.
The White House announced that President Obama will seek an additional $1.1 billion in new funding to pay for the treatment of prescription opioid and heroin abuse, which now kills more Americans every year from drug overdoses than automobile accidents. Opioid abuse in workers' compensation varies by statebut opioids are frequently prescribed when pain relievers are needed. A majority of the additional $1.1 billion will be to expand states' existing treatment programs and make services more affordable.
Yesterday Punxutawney Phil predicted an early spring. Let's hope Punxsutawney Phil is right and the worse of winter is behind us. Out of the top five most costly U.S. winter events, four happened after Groundhog Day. I think we're ready for spring.
Welcome to The Way, Gallagher Bassett's weekly governmental briefing on state and federal affairs that affect our industry. Thank you for your readership, and we welcome your comments and feedback. For more information, please connect with GB on LinkedIn, follow us on Twitter, or contact the authors, Greg McKenna and Cari Miller directly.