Government

Boulton promotes paid family leave, dealing with deceptive Medicare mailings: Iowa Capitol Digest, Jan. 31

The dome of the State Capitol building in Des Moines is shown on Tuesday, January 13, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
The dome of the State Capitol building in Des Moines is shown on Tuesday, January 13, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

A roundup of legislative and Capitol news items of interest for Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018:

BOULTON PROMOTES PAID FAMILY LEAVE: Iowa should establish a paid family leave program for workers, state Sen. Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, said Wednesday.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Boulton said a paid family leave program would help boost the state’s workforce by offering “a benefit that people across the nation are seeking,” thereby helping convince Iowans to remain here and to attract others to come here to work.

Boulton has introduced legislation that would create a paid family leave program in which workers would be able to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for themselves or a family member with a serious health condition.

The program would be funded by employee contributions, assessed beginning in 2021.

MEDICARE MAILINGS: Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced Wednesday two South Carolina businesses have agreed to halt deceptive Iowa mailings that state officials claim were designed to generate insurance sales leads.

The Myrtle Beach businesses and their principals will change mailings they may use to generate insurance leads in Iowa through an agreement with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. The agreement settles a dispute over “2018 Medicare update” mailings, which Miller said are misleading and violate Iowa’s Consumer Fraud Act.

The agreement, called an assurance of voluntary compliance, prohibits Choice Health Insurance LLC and National Direct Marketing LLC, and their principal owners, Dennis Watts and Michael Watts, from sending Iowans mailings that appear to come from a government agency or mislead recipients about the mailing’s true purpose.

The agreement also prohibits mailings from giving the false impression that benefit programs are free, obscuring the true reason for seeking the consumer’s phone number, and using inconspicuous small print to disclose important information.

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Through the agreement, the businesses and their owners will pay $2,000 to support future consumer fraud enforcement efforts, according to Miller’s office.

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