New Hampshire, Indiana legislatures considering joining Healthcare Compact
By Lauren Rodgers
In April 2011, Georgia became the first state to adopt legislation allowing a state to join the Healthcare Compact - an interstate compact that would transfer authority and responsibility for regulating health care from the federal government to individual states. Since then, the legislatures in three other states (Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas) have passed legislation to join the compact.
Earlier this week, the Indiana House of Representatives passed House Bill 1269, bringing the Hoosier State one step closer to joining the compact. State Rep. Timothy Neese, the bill's sponsor, explains the bill would give greater flexibility to the state legislature, "it would be more transparent, and it would very likely allow the state of Indiana to save a substantial amount of tax dollars. Rep. Craig Fry called the measure "an exercise in futility," arguing that the U.S. Congress is unlikely to grant the compact its approval - a requirement before the law may take effect.
A similar measure was proposed in the New Hampshire House of Representatives and has been referred to the Constitutional Review and Statutory Recodification Committee.
Opposition to the bill - and more generally to the idea of a health care compact - is strong in New Hampshire, drawing such descriptions as "a quixotic attempt to avoid federal regulation," "revolting," "frivolous" and "a strange, convoluted attempt to relieve New Hampshire of the burdens imposed by federal health care dictates."
Proponents of the New Hampshire legislation highlight the flexibility it affords each of its member states to design a health care program that would specifically target its residents. Matt Murphy of the Healthcare Compact Alliance explains "Washington doesn't know what New Hampshire needs for health care." Along a similar vein, the New Hampshire director for Americans for Prosperity, Corey Lewandowski, argues "we can make decisions better at the state or local level than we can on the federal level."
- WBST.com, "Bill would free state from health care law," February 6, 2012
- New Hampshire General Court - Bill Status System, "HB 1560 status," accessed February 9, 2012
- Concord Monitor, "A revolting batch of bills doomed to fail," January 29, 2012
- Union Leader, "Compact waste: HB 1560 is frivolous," January 24, 2012
- Cabinet.com, "Group lobbies for state health care," January 26, 2012