California Passes State Health Exchange Legislation

The California Senate passed two bills on Tuesday, August 24 on the California Health Benefits Exchange to be implemented by January 1, 2014 under the federal health care reform law. S.B. 900 would establish the exchange as an independent public entity and sets forth provisions concerning its governing board, executive director, open meeting rules, and other significant administrative, personnel, and financial requirements. [More]

USDE Announces 10 Winners in Second Round of Race to the Top

On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, U.S. Department of Education (USDE) Secretary Arne Duncan announced 10 winners out of the 19 finalists in the second round of the Race to the Top competition. The winners will share the $3.4 billion remaining in the Race to the Top fund after the first round. According to the August 24th USDE press release, the 10 winning applicants “have adopted rigorous common, college-and career-ready standards in reading and math, created pipelines and incentives to put the most effective teachers in high-need schools, and all have alternative pathways to teacher and principal certification.” [More]

CBO Says Reform Law Will Reduce Projected Budget Deficits by $179 BLN Over Next Decade

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stated in an economic outlook report, “The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update,” on August 19 that the new health care reform law has reduced projected deficits over the 2011-2020 period by about $179 billion. CBO issued the update as one of a series of annual reports on the state of the budget and the economy. The $179 billion figure is about $40 billion higher than CBO previously estimated in its March 18 analysis of the legislation. [More]

When Do MEPA Regulations Apply?

The Multi-Ethic Placement Act of 1994 (MEPA), as amended by the Interethnic Adoption Provisions of 1996 (MEPA-IEP), applies to any state or other entity that receives funds from the federal government and is involved in some aspect of adoptive or foster care placements. All state and county child welfare agencies involved in placements that receive federal Title IV-E and Title IV-B funds are subject to MEPA-IEP. [More]

The Impact of the Education Jobs Fund Program on the LEA Budget Crisis

Even with the potential for receiving millions of dollars in new federal aid for the 2010-2011 school year, many states and local education agencies (LEA) across the country fear that more staff lay-offs and other school budget cuts will be necessary when the money runs out. Of the $26 billion state aid bill signed by the President on August 10, 2010, $10 billion was allocated under Public Law No. 111-226 to the new Federal Education Jobs Fund (Ed Jobs) program for the specific purpose of saving or creating education jobs for the 2010-2011 school year. [More]

CMS Issues Final Rules on Medicare Payments to Hospitals in FY 2011

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published final rules in the Federal Register on August 16 on the hospital inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) for acute care hospitals and long term care hospitals. These rules apply to Medicare payments for discharges occurring on or after October 1, 2010 for 3,500 acute care hospitals and 420 long term care hospitals. [More]

HHS Awards Grants to Upgrade State Reviews of Health Insurance Premium Increases

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Monday, August 16 that it is awarding $46 million in grants to 45 States and the District of Columbia to upgrade reviews of health insurance premium increases. This is the first installment in $250 million in Health Insurance Premium Review Grants over five years under the federal health care reform law. [More]