(On July 9, more than 200 attendees at the Conservative Leadership Conference listened to Eric O’Keefe explain different aspects of health care reform. O’Keefe is Chairman of Sam Adams Alliance, a Chicago-based, free market organization, and chief advocate for the Health Care Compact. – Ed.)
(The Health Care Compact Alliance) – Today the Health Care Compact, an agreement between participating states that restores authority and responsibility for health care regulation to member states, was signed into law by Texas’ Governor, Rick Perry. The compact allows Texas to create its own health care policies by joining an interstate compact that supersedes prior federal law. Texas is the fourth state to sign the compact into law following Georgia, Oklahoma, and Missouri.
“By passing SB 7 with Rep. Lois Kolkhorst’s Health Care Compact language, the Texas Legislature has taken a big step toward addressing the fundamental problem with health care policy: a failed governance system,” said Leo Linbeck III, Vice Chairman of the Health Care Compact Alliance. “Rather than forcing Texans to comply with a one-size-fits-all system designed by federal politicians and Washington DC bureaucrats, the Health Care Compact will bring those decisions back to Texas. Americans want self-governance, especially in health care.”
“Texas faces unique challenges when it comes to health care delivery, and Washington’s one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t fit our needs,” Gov. Perry said. “SB 7 provides state-based solutions to rising health care costs by providing millions in savings, rewarding innovation and improving the health care of Texans.
The Health Care Compact has been introduced in 15 states and is law in Georgia, Oklahoma, and Missouri. It has passed the State House of Representatives in Montana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona, Georgia and Texas. It has passed the State Senate in Oklahoma, Arizona, Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia. In addition, in more than 36 states, citizen groups and state legislators are actively considering the Health Care Compact.
“I think Texans can better decide how to prioritize our health care than Congressmen from California, New York or Wisconsin. States are in a better position to determine our own needs than a big, one-size-fits-all federal plan,” said Rep. Lois Kolkhorst. “Health care spending crowds out funding for our schools, highways and public safety. That’s why we need the Health Care Compact. Texans need a bigger say in how our health dollars are spent, a government closest to the people governs best.”
For the Health Care Compact to become law it must be passed by both houses of the General Assembly or Legislature, signed by the governor, and approved through Congress. The way health care works in a member state is not prescribed in the compact. Who and what is covered as well as the level of regulation are determined by each state after the compact is ratified.
Interstate compacts have been used throughout U.S. history to allow states to coordinate in important policy areas. Authority for compacts was established in the Constitution (Article I, Section 10), and more than 200 such agreements are currently in effect. They are voluntary agreements between states that, when consented to by congress, have the force of federal law.