By Lauren Rodgers
Utah state Senator Stuart Adams sponsored legislation authorizing Utah to join the interstate Healthcare Compact.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT: The Utah State Senate voted 21-8 in favor of Senate Bill 208. The bill, sponsored by state Senator Stuart Adams (R), would authorize the state to join the Healthcare Compact. The Healthcare Compact is an interstate compact that allows states to opt out of federal health care reform and "control programs such as Medicaid and Medicare with federal block grants."
Adams argues federal oversight stifles innovation and that joining the compact would save money. "We are the best managed state in the nation. We can manage these dollars better." The bill was opposed by all Democratic Senators and one Republican Senator - Kevin Van Tassell of Vernal. They expressed concerns the grants won't keep up with inflation and that there is too much uncertainty about the effect of opting out of Medicare.
Groups supporting the bill include the Sutherland Institute and Utah Eagle Forum. Opponents include AARP-Utah, the American Cancer Society, Utah Association of Home Care and Hospice, the Coalition for People with Disabilities and the Utah League of Women Voters. The Healthcare Compact has already been approved in Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas and is under consideration in several other state legislatures.