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Regulating the activities of holders of public office is crucial in the smooth running of government activities. Failure to do so would lead to the ultimate failure of the government as everybody would do what they please. To this effect, most governments have formulated public law to govern the holders of public office. Public law confers powers and imposes regulations to the holders of public office. Private law governs the general population by regulating their personal legal affairs (Schulz & Wasmeier, 2012).
Effective laws must include specific areas—constitutional law, tax law, and social security law (Schulz & Wasmeier, 2012). The general principles of administrative law and its various specialized fields such as police, communal administration, and public construction laws form the basis of public law. In addition, public law includes data protection, public service, media, traffic, environmental and procedural laws. Criminal law is also part of the public law because only the government has authority of inflicting punishment on offenders.
Private law differs from public law, as it governs individual citizens’ private legal affairs. These include entering into contracts, transferring and procuring property and receiving compensation due to injuries under the law of torts. Civil code is the most important statute that regulates private law. There is generally a variation in the civil code based on jurisdiction.
There are three main sources of law: common law, statutory law, and administrative law. Common law is generally a “judge-made” law. It refers to the total of all the cases that the appellate courts have tried. Under common law, the judgment passed on a similar case may be referred in passing the judgment of another case. Common law mainly prevails in tort, contract and agency law (Beatty & Samuelson, 2010). Statutory law refers to any new law formed by legislators. People have control of the statutory laws since they are responsible for electing legislators to represent their affairs. Therefore, these legislators would help in the creation of statutory laws that favor their representatives. Administrative law governs the activities of people within a certain jurisdiction. Administrative agencies set up by the government ensure that various activities fall within the accepted regulations of the country.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
The Health Insurance and Accountability Act (HIPAA) became law on August 21, 1996. HIPAA dictates that all healthcare insurance providers and payers, who transmit transactions electronically, ensure the standardization of the data elements that they use in conducting financial and administrative transaction. Submission of claims, processing of enrollments, verification of insurance eligibility, and payment and remittance advice are some of the data elements that need standardization. To facilitate the implementation of the Act, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), develops the standards for use in the electronic transmission of healthcare transactions. The main purpose of this act is to reduce the administrative costs and paperwork of healthcare insurance. HIPAA dictates that the secretary formulates a distinct identifier for person, employer, healthcare provider, and health plan (Stevens, 2003).
Lack of compliance to standards set by HIPAA, exposes an individual to a $100 civil monetary penalty per violation, and not more than $25,000 fine per calendar year for an individual. However, there are limitations as to when an individual is liable for penalty. One is not liable for penalty, if the failure to comply with the standards was due to other offenses that are punishable separately. Additionally, one is not liable for a penalty, should failure to comply with the standards be due to unavoidable reasons that the individual rectified within 30 days of learning that lack of compliance had occurred. HIPAA also describes penalties that an individual may face due to wrongful disclosing or obtaining information. The penalties range from fines of $50,000 to $250,000 and imprisonments of 1 to 10 years.
HIPAA has helped in bringing sanity into the healthcare insurance industry which prior to its enactment was in chaos. It helped in improving the management of expansive data on individuals that was in the hands of the healthcare insurance providers. In addition, several provisions of the act helped in enhancing the security of the data that the healthcare providers had. HIPAA has not only been beneficial to the federal government in managing health insurance but has also aided in the reduction of management and administrative costs of the healthcare insurance providers (Ferrel, 2001).
The late-2000 financial crisis was an avoidable mistake made by financial institutions.. For the market participants wanted to get profits without thorough scrutiny of the financial markets and developing proper policies. We overlooked the risks in our business operations and financial innovations. We must therefore unite as stakeholders in the financial market in the United States of America and in the world to avoid such crisis in future.