Summary: H.R.5966 — 98th Congress (1983-1984)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.5966. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (06/28/1984)

Title I: Supplemental Benefits - Establishes a Federal supplemental benefit program for death or disability caused by occupational exposure to asbestos.

Provides guidelines for: (1) the calculation of benefits in proportion to disability; (2) payment methods; and (3) payment priorities. Exempts such supplemental benefits from: (1) any tax or legal process; and (2) any offset for administrative benefits under State or Federal law. Sets guidelines for the offset of supplemental benefits where reorganization or liquidation proceedings occur under Federal bankruptcy laws.

Makes supplemental benefits payable only out of the Asbestos-Related Disease Trust Fund established by this Act. Conditions eligibility for supplemental benefits upon such benefits' being the exclusive remedy of an individual for occupational exposure to asbestos.

Prescribes guidelines for the filing and payment of asbestos-related disease claims. Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the Secretary) to apply by analogy specified portions of the Social Security Act when making determinations of: (1) entitlement to benefits; (2) review of claims; and (3) delegations of authority to State agencies.

Directs the Secretary of Labor, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, to determine annually the average weekly wage for manufacturing workers in each State. Requires such determinations to govern decisions regarding all claims filed in the following calendar year.

Requires the Secretary to rely upon: (1) prior court decisions regarding a claimant; (2) prior determinations by the appropriate workers' compensation program regarding specified eligibility criteria. Specifies exceptions. Requires the Secretary to apply the appropriate workers' compensation law when reviewing supplemental benefit claims.

Creates within the Department of Health and Human Services the National Medical Panel on Asbestos-Related Diseases to: (1) decide which diseases belong to the list of asbestos-related diseases; (2) review claims to determine whether a person's disease was caused by asbestos exposure; and (3) publish certain Medical Assessment Guidance Documents. Provides guidelines for the appointment of medical scientists to the Panel from certain organizations.

Directs the Panel to promulgate a list of asbestos-related diseases and to provide explanations of any decisions to include or omit a disease from such list. Outlines conditions under which the Panel shall review claims for asbestos-related diseases which do not appear on the panel's list of diseases. Requires the Panel to determine within a specified time whether the disease in the referred claim should be included on such list.

Requires the Panel to publish Medical Assessment Guidance Documents including specific medical diagnostic criteria to aid parties and decisionmakers determine whether a death or disability was caused by occupational exposure to asbestos.

Title II: Finance - Prescribes guidelines under which: (1) assessments are imposed against each asbestos defendant; (2) assessment allocation factors are assigned to asbestos defendants; (3) assessments are imposed against asbestos insurance policies; and (4) assessments are imposed against companies undergoing Federal bankruptcy proceedings. Sets the aggregate semiannual assessment on defendants in 1985 and 1986 at $150,000,000.

Imposes interest upon assessments not paid by the due date.

Requires the Secretary of the Treasury to: (1) conduct studies determining assessment allocation factor amounts and assessment apportionment ratios; and (2) promulgate compliance regulations.

States that assessment payments do not prejudice the right to recover or challenge such payments.

Treats asbestos-related disease assessments imposed upon either an asbestos defendant or an asbestos insurance policy, for Federal income tax purposes, as ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in carrying on the trade or business, on the one hand, and insurance contract losses, on the other. Treats asbestos-related disease assessments as miscellaneous excise taxes.

Establishes in the Treasury the Asbestos-Related Disease Trust Fund (the Trust Fund). Details the manner in which such Trust Fund shall be funded and administered. Makes the Secretary of the Treasury the Managing Trustee, and delineates trustee functions.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1985 and subsequent years.

Establishes within the Department of the Treasury the Asbestos-Related Disease Trust Fund Conservation Committee (the Committee) comprised of the Managing Trustee and five public members appointed by the President. Includes among the consultation and review functions of such Committee: (1) claim disposition; (2) grant and contract awards; and (3) claims and assessments analysis. Directs the Committee to submit an annual report to the Congress regarding the performance of its responsibilities.

Authorizes the Committee, with the advice and assistance of the Secretary of Labor, to instruct the Managing Trustee to award grants and contracts to specified organizations for the purpose of: (1) improving State workers' compensation programs; (2) assuring the availability of medical specialists to assist government agencies; (3) establishing medical evaluation units to determine occupational sources of asbestos-related diseases; and (4) medical treatment research.

Title III: Miscellaneous - Makes the supplemental benefits under this Act and the applicable workers' compensation programs the exclusive remedy for occupational exposure to asbestos. Exempts certain persons from liability for occupational exposure to asbestos. Removes jurisdiction from State or Federal tribunals to adjudicate any claim of liability for occupational exposure to asbestos after enactment of this Act.

Confers jurisdiction for judicial review of administrative acts under this Act only upon the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Confers jurisdiction for questions of assessments and constitutionality under this Act only upon a special three-judge district court established in the District Court for the District of Columbia.

Requires all administrative costs and expenses of this Act to be paid out of the Trust Fund. Directs the Secretaries of Health and Human Services, of Labor, of the Treasury, and the Attorney General to submit an analysis and certification of their respective costs under this Act to the Managing Trustee for reimbursement.