Congress Gets CISA Passed in Omnibus Spending Bill

by Joe Clark 27. January 2016 10:04
Employing an age-old trick, Congress managed to receive passage of their Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA into the omnibus spending bill that President Obama recently signed into law. The CISA is a contentious bill, with vocal proponents and opponents. It incentivizes companies and corporations to share data classified as a “cyber threat” with the federal government as a means of security. The thinking behind the bill is that corporations will share information they receive about cyber threats with one another and the federal government. With this shared information, entities will be better prepared against future cyber attacks and able to mitigate the current cyber threat landscape. Proponents argue that this type of bill will hinder future cyber attacks from those who were able to achieve relative anonymity in the past and offer the government a better means of mitigating cyber threats. Opponents feel that the government’s definition of cyber threat is too broad and this bill is a mandated violation of expected personal privacy and more a means of government surveillance. Had the President not signed the omnibus into law, there would likely have been a government shutdown. Though the Senate had not passed the bill, Congress placed it into the omnibus spending bill knowing it would likely get through.

No COLA Increase in 2016

by Ben Wainwright 30. October 2015 13:00
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that for only the third time in 40 years, there will not be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Qualified Retirement Plans in 2016. COLA is tied very closely with Social Security (SS), and as a result Social Security beneficiaries will not receive an increase in their monthly benefits. However, due to the hold-harmless provision[1], anyone whose Medicare costs are deducted from their SS benefits will not see an increase in their monthly premium. Indeed, the last decade has seen small increases for SS beneficiaries—the total COLA increase over the past 8 years has only been 14.3%, compared to nearly 70% in the first eight years that it was introduced. Due to the lack of a cost of living adjustment, many Medicare beneficiaries will not see an increase in their benefits. In fact, it is expected that roughly 30% of Medicare Beneficiaries will see an increase in the cost of Medicare. The groups of Beneficiaries expected to be impacted include: · New Enrollees · Enrollees that do not receive SS benefits · Enrollees with higher incomes As a result of this Medicare cost increase, AARP and 70 other consumer advocacy groups has asked Congress to extend the hold-harmless provision to all Medicare beneficiaries; not just the 70% who currently receive Medicare Part B and are eligible for the provision. AARP sent Congress a letter on October 14th, 2015 urging them to extend the provision before it goes into effect on January 1st, 2016. For a summary of the Cost-of-Living Adjustments by Code Section for the past 5 years, follow the link: [1] A legal statement prohibiting an increase to Medicare B premiums for the vast majority of American citizens. The Medicare hold harmless provision ensures that Medicare B premiums cannot rise more than the previous year's cost of living increase in Social Security benefits.
Categories: Assurance