In a blow to states’ leadership over clean energy, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that states cannot sue power plant operators that generate pollution. The Justice Department alleges that: (1) the Environmental Protection Agency has already started to regulate greenhouse emissions; and (2) states lack standing to assert a federal nuisance claim.
The Vermont legislature was able to compromise on next year’s
budget somewhat expeditiously. For fiscal year 2011, beginning in July,
the state will face a $154
million budget gap and will have to borrow about $71 million. Many
successes took place in the realms of health care, job creation,
broadband coverage, criminal justice, and environmental issues,
including a successful stop to the re-licensing of the Vermont Yankee
Nuclear Power Plant.
While the new Affordable Health Care law provides a variety of funding
opportunities for states, one provision in the health law that could
shift billions of dollars from cash-strapped states to the federal
government. Under the National
Medicaid Drug Rebate Program created by the Omnibus Budget
Reconciliation Act of 1990, drug manufacturers are required to enter
into agreements that provide rebates for Medicaid purchased drugs,
establishing a 15% minimum level of rebates. Up until now, the rebates
were divided between the states and the federal government. But under
the new health reform law, a significant portion of the rebates will go
solely to Washington beginning this year.
The federal health reform law is only the starting point for achieving
health care access for all Americans. Many states are already moving
forward, not only on implementing the basic provisions of the Affordable
Care Act in their states, but are also planning how to build on its
framework to further expand coverage and rein in costs for their
residents. The following are a few models of implementation and
comprehensive reform underway.