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Maine

Preventing Loss of Medicaid Drug Rebate Funds for States

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.

Up and Running: States Implementing Federal Health Reforms

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.

Maine Voters Reject Tax Reform Initiative, but Approve Infrastructure Investment

This past Tuesday, Maine votersconsidered legislation which would have reformed the state's tax structure and bond measures that will bolster infrastructure investment.By a large margin, Mainers rejected a law passed last June, LD1495, to lower the top income tax rate from 8.5 percent to 6.5 percent for state residents earning less than $250,000 annually by broadening the sales tax to include different services and shifting tax burden to nonresidents by increasing the meals and lodging tax from 7 to 8.5 percent.

Budget Transparency Advances Across Country

Last week, the Massachusetts House unanimously passed the Revenues and Expenditures Transparency Act, H 2972, to create a searchable, online database that details state spending and revenue sources.  Lawmakers also approved an amendment to create greater taxpayer accountability by providing increased transparency around some business tax credits.  As House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Revenue Rep. Jay Kauffman explains, "[p]ublic access to the way we raise and spend money is essential, enabling us to make more-informed decisions for the tax-paying constituents who elect us to serve on their behalf."

2010 Legislative Session Roundup: Maine

In spite of difficult budget decisions, Maine leaders enacted significant progressive initiatives this year, from first-in-the-nation health reforms to clean energy bills to consumer protections to campaign reforms.