“Health Care Compact” Bill Signed by Governor

ATLANTA– House Bill 461, the interstate “Health Care Compact” bill, was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. Introduced by State Representative Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper), this legislation is aimed at protecting Georgia’s 10th Amendment right to regulate healthcare within the state.

“The passage and signing of HB 461 puts Georgia at the forefront of states rights,” said Rep. Jasperse. “The Health Care Compact will allow Georgia to choose how we spend our healthcare dollars. This bill is the result of the work of volunteers who care deeply about our state and proves that every Georgian has the power to affect change in our great state. HB 461 and the Health Care Compact let the nation know that Georgia has not forgotten that real democracy rests in the power of individual citizens, not with those in Washington who think they can force unwanted and unaffordable government programs upon a country that is taxed enough already.”

“Georgia is the first state to have this health care compact legislation signed into law,” said Gov. Deal. “A large majority of Georgians believe that we here are better equipped to manage our state’s health care needs than a one-size-fits-all plan under Obamacare. Each state is different, and I adhere to the theory that states are the laboratories of democracy where innovative ideas are more likely to take effect and work than on the federal level. Obviously, this legislation faces a high hurdle since it would require congressional approval, but this is part of our continuing effort to find creative, free-market solutions to our health care challenges. There are positive alternatives to Obamacare, and we will continue to bring these ideas to the forefront for debate across this nation.”

The 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the sovereign authority of our nation’s 50 states by granting them authority over all powers not given to the federal government under the Constitution. According to Rep. Jasperse, the broad array of powers reserved for states under the Constitution includes healthcare regulation.

HB 461 will allow the state to assert its 10th Amendment right by requiring that Georgia to enter into “The Healthcare Compact,” an interstate agreement where member states work together to improve the healthcare in their respective states. To accomplish this, the Compact will grant the legislative bodies of its member states full authority over their health care system. The member states will also receive an annual appropriation of mandated spending funds from the federal government which could be adjusted every year based on changes to population and/or inflation. The Compact also allows member states to leave the Compact at any time.

Additionally, the Compact establishes the Interstate Advisory Health Care Commission as a non-binding advisory body. The task of the Commission is to collect information and data to assess the performance of various health care programs. The Commission is comprised of members appointed by each member state, with each state limited to no more than two appointments.

Once the Compact receives Congressional approval, member states will be able to suspend federal healthcare regulations simply by adopting superseding legislation into their state laws. However, the federal government would still have jurisdiction over military health care in every U.S. state under the Health Care Compact.

A compact is an agreement between two or more states. Put simply, people and business use contracts to formalize agreements with one another, but states use compacts.

Interstate compacts are a way to move control from the federal government to the states. However, any compact attempting to infringe upon the supremacy of Congress must be approved by Congress, as outlined in Article One, Section 10 of the Constitution. The need for Congressional approval will not be a problem for The Healthcare Compact because member states will insist upon Congressional approval.

For more information on HB 461, please click here.

Representative Rick Jasperse represents the citizens of District 12, which includes portions of Bartow, Gordon, and Pickens Counties. He was elected into the House of Representatives in 2010, and currently serves on the Agriculture & Consumer Affairs, Economic Development & Tourism, Game, Fish, & Parks, and the Special Rules committees.

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