Consumer Watch Dog: Issue an Executive Order on Controlling Premium Increases

President Obama Should Issue an Executive Order Freezing Health Insurance Premium Increases Until Insurers Justify Unreasonable Increases as Required by Health Reform


WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Consumer Watchdog asked President Obama to issue an Executive Order freezing health insurance premiums to protect consumers from unjustified and unreasonable increases until new rules under the health reform law requiring public justification of unreasonable premium hikes take effect.

Recently announced health insurance rate hikes go into effect as early as this Friday, October 1.

Designated Transfer Date Set for the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection

September 27, 2010

Secretary of the treasury announces July 21, 2011, as the date when the BCFP will take over consumer financial protection functions from the FTC and other federal agencies.



The Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA) created the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. This new federal agency will have broad powers to regulate consumer financial products and services. The secretary of the treasury recently announced July 21, 2011, as the designated transfer date when consumer financial protection functions held by other federal agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission, will transfer to the BCFP.

The FTC is currently the primary federal agency with enforcement powers under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and other federal laws governing the credit and collection Industry. On July 21, 2011, the BCFP will have secondary enforcement authority under the FDCPA unless an entity is directly subject to the BCFP’s authority. The BCFP will also have rulemaking authority under the FDCPA and FCRA, and will have the ability to promulgate rules under those Acts.

In the intervening period, the BCFP will lay the groundwork for an efficient transfer and prepare for consumer protection activities after July 21, 2011. For instance, prior to the designated transfer date, the Bureau will begin conducting research relating to consumer financial products and services, developing its nationwide consumer complaint response center, and planning steps to implement the risk-based supervision of nondepository covered persons.

In addition to the announcement regarding the transfer date, President Obama recently announced the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as assistant to the president and special advisor to the secretary of the treasury on the BCFP. Thus, Warren will be heading up the effort to get the bureau up and running. The president has not yet appointed anyone to head the agency.

ACA will continue to monitor the progress of the new agency and keep members informed of any changes that may affect the credit and collection industry. For more information on the BCFP and the CFPA, ACA International members can review Fastfax document #3057, The Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010—What It Means for Your Business.


Proposed Rules Rankle Insurers


One of the most critical aspects of the federal health overhaul for insurers is shaping up as a mixed bag for the industry, as regulators issued draft rules Thursday on how the companies must account for how much they spend directly on patients’ medical care.

The overhaul stipulates that insurers’ medical-care spending for individual and small-business health plans must equal at least 80% of the premiums they collect on those plans. For large-company health plans, the spending requirement is at least 85% of the collected premiums.

Visa Gears up for a Post-Dodd-Frank Debit World

(September 14, 2010) With the coming of debit card interchange regulation and more merchant freedom from payment card network operating rules, Visa Inc. has established what it calls “strategy teams” to develop alternatives and respond once the Federal Reserve issues new rules next year. That’s the word from Visa chief financial officer Byron H. Pollitt Jr., who at a Tuesday investor conference addressed implications of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation that President Obama signed July 21.

Warren Plays Volcker-Like Role for Obama in Finance Regulation

By Julianna Goldman – Sep 24, 2010 12:00 AM ET

Elizabeth Warren, assistant to U.S. President Barack Obama, listens to Obama in Washington. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

President Barack Obama struck a familiar chord when he named Elizabeth Warren to help set up a new consumer protection bureau: putting a prominent figure in an advisory role to validate his economic message.

At the start of his presidency, that validation came from former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker. His appointment to lead the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board within weeks of Obama’s election lent the president credibility with the financial industry and Americans wary of his policies.