Nebraska could reap $18 million next year as the result of a multi-state agreement with four tobacco companies that settles a 10-year dispute over payments under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.
Attorney General Jon Bruning’s office announced the settlement. The tobacco companies and the states had a dispute over portions of the payments of the tobacco settlement. In 1998, the major tobacco companies agreed to pay states more than $200 billion over 25 years to settle a lawsuit filed over the health care costs related to smoking.
Nebraska has received $300 million from the settlement since 2003. Continued arbitration, according to Bruning, would put at risk $40 million in annual payments.
“This settlement is important for Nebraska and essential to the future of our public health funding from the Health Care Cash Fund,” said Bruning in a written statement released by his office. “The Legislature has utilized the state’s MSA fund wisely by supporting much-needed health care programs. Our office is focused on maintaining the integrity of that fund. Under the terms of the settlement, we avoid the significant uncertainty of costly litigation and the potential loss of the entire annual MSA payment.”
On December 17, 2012, the settlement was agreed upon by 17 states including Nebraska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. The states were joined by the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to the Attorney General’s office.