Health Care Reform With the one-year anniversary of the enactment of the Health Care Reform Act passing, there is still much tension regarding how to implement this new law. Although the full impact of the law won’t be felt until 2014, many state gov- ernors, attorney generals and legislators have opposed federal reform through lawsuits or legislation. Currently, there are 27 states that have filed lawsuits against the new law. States are worried about the expansion of Medicaid, which is a joint state-federal program for low-income individuals. Two federal judges, one in Virginia and one in Florida, ruled in December 2010 that the health insurance individual mandate was unconstitutional. Three federal judges have ruled that Congress possesses the authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to uphold the requirement. It’s expected the Supreme Court will ultimately have to resolve the issue. For more information on the Patient Protection and Affordability Act, visit he federal government’s new website, www.healthreform.gov.
Now that the federal stimulus package money is coming
to an end, states face an even greater probability of experiencing major budget shortfalls. It is estimated that by
2013 there will be a projected gap in state budgets of $66
billion. Currently, 35 states believe that the imbalances
in their FY 2012 budgets, with an aggregate estimate, is
roughly $82.1 billion1.
In order to create revenue, potential tax changes
include a new sales tax on e-commerce. In March 2011,
California, Texas and Illinois claimed that e-commerce
companies have affiliate companies located in their
states, which therefore qualifies those organizations to
pay sales tax.
Some states are turning to state-wide legislation to
address budget shortfalls. Wisconsin Governor Scott
Walker signed into law a ban on collective bargaining for
public sector unions and also limits raises to a certain
level without approval by public referendum. Ohio has
also legislated to end collective bargaining rights of public
sector employees. There has been talk of other states fol-
lowing this path in an attempt to better control state-wide
Beth Price ( firstname.lastname@example.org), is legislative liaison for IREM Headquarters in Chicago.