By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Under the banner of Turning a Washington failure into an American success, states around the nation are introducing a healthcare compact.
In accordance with the movement sweeping the country Alabama State Senator Greg Reed (R-Jasper) and State Representative Mike Ball (R-Huntsville) have introduced the Health Care Compact Act under SB258 and HB43 respectively.
“The question on this compact is do we want a one-size-fits-all healthcare system administered through this huge bureaucracy in Washington,” said Ball, “or do we want individual states to be able to customize their healthcare system to meet the individual needs of within the state.”
The foundation of the compact is based on the constitutional provision that federal government, has limited and enumerated powers, and that reserved to the states (or to the people) those powers not granted to the federal government.
Proponents of the bill believe that the power to regulate healthcare properly belongs to the states. However to these people the creeping scope of federally-mandated healthcare has stripped the states of this power. According to Ball, this bill would return the power to where it belongs in the state legislature.
“By returning healthcare to the states, we will be able to offer a more efficient healthcare system than the one-size-fits-all model coming out of Washington,” said Ball.
Ball points out that one of the biggest problems in Alabama’s budget is the unfunded mandates within Medicaid. “What is breaking the bank is Medicaid and its huge unfunded liabilities,” said Ball. “This bill would be an alternative to Obamacare and more.”
Other plans have been introduced in the past but have met with court battles and constitutional challenges.
The solution is offered by the compact would avoid such entanglement by an interstate compact – which is simply an agreement between two or more states that is consented to by Congress – that restores authority and responsibility for healthcare regulation to the member states and provides the funds to the states to fulfill that responsibility.
Military healthcare, would be an exception and would remain under federal authority.
Currently four states Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri have joined the compact with about 27 state poised to enact laws that would allow them to take part.
Ball says he thinks that healthcare has become too large and complex to manage at the federal level and that the states can be more effective managers than the federal bureaucracy.