Legislation filed in both chambers of the Texas Legislature would move authority, responsibility, and control over funding for the health care system to the states through a new interstate compact.
House Bill 5, filed by State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), and Senate Bill 25 by State Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) would enter Texas into a Health Care Compact. Allowed by Article 1, Section 10, of the U.S. Constitution, interstate compacts take the place of federal law.
A large coalition of organizations is supporting the compact initiative in Texas, including Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Texas Public Policy Foundation, Tea Party Patriots, Texas Conservative Coalition, Americans for Prosperity and King Street Patriots.
“The Health Care Compact represents the kind of forward thinking that will serve Texans’ interests by taking the federal government out of the health care policy mix,” said Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility. “For a century Washington has tried to ‘fix’ health care, but has only managed to make things both worse and exponentially more expensive. It’s time for the states to step up and manage the kind of systems best suited for their needs.”
Sullivan said Texans for Fiscal Responsibility will include votes for HB5/SB25 in the biennial Fiscal Responsibility Index. Lawmakers co-sponsoring the legislation will receive positive weighting to their score, as well.
The Health Care Compact would have to be entered into by at least two states and be approved by Congress. The compact is already under consideration in the legislatures of more than a dozen states, and does not force the states to adopt any particular form of regulation or oversight. Rather, the states would be responsible for creating systems that best meet their perceived needs — allowing the marketplace of policy ideas to determine which systems work, and which don’t.
“I am confident that the leadership of Rep. Kolkhorst and Sen. Nelson will produce far better results for Texas than we have seen come from Washington in decades,” added Sullivan.
The idea of using interstate compacts as a way to shift power from Washington, DC, began at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and is being promoted nationally by the Health Care Compact Alliance. More information on the Health Care Compact is available at www.healthcarecompact.org.