New Hampshire Watches Multi-State Health Care Compact

Kansas, Missouri and seven other states have signed on to a movement that would snatch regulatory authority of most of the nation’s health care insurance systems from the federal government. New Hampshire’s House of Representatives voted in 2012 to join the national Health Care Compact, but the introduced legislation has stalled in the Senate. If approved the Health Care Compact would impact the federal government’s role in Medicaid and Medicare, among other health care programs.

Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Utah, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina state legislatures have begun a movement to be part of a proposed interstate health care compact. The compact would let participating states use federal funds – in the form of block grants – to design and operate their own Medicare, Medicaid and other health care programs, except for the military’s.HCC_MAP

Critics say the idea is unworkable and faces long political odds. Indeed, states need Congress to approve any interstate compact. The movement has some traction, partly to air grievances with Obamacare and partly because of supporters’ belief that states individually would do a better job managing health programs and expenses.

The federal government is unlikely to accept this grand bargain, at least not anytime soon, since Congress and the President would have to approve any interstate compact.

According to the Health Care Compact website, a clearinghouse for the movement, enabling legislation has been approved in Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Utah, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina. The site says legislatures in Arizona, Montana and Minnesota approved health compact bills but were stopped by governors’ vetoes or other action; one legislature, in North Dakota, voted down its health compact bill; bills have been introduced in Colorado, Washington, Michigan, Tennessee, Florida and New Hampshire; and hearings on the subject have been held in Louisiana and Ohio.

Expect to hear more about it in the coming weeks as congressional elections heat up.

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