Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) introduced House Bill 461 recently to the Georgia House of Representatives out-lining a Health Care Compact which would allow individual states to regulate their own healthcare systems.
Jasperse cites the Constitution as grounds for this legislation, saying it would enact Georgia's 10th Amendment right to regulate health care within the state. The 10th Amendment outlines that any rights not specifically assigned to the authority of the federal government are reserved for the states, including regulating healthcare, according to Jasperse.
“It (House Bill 461) forms an agreement or compact among states that says states can dictate how we spend our healthcare money better than the federal government can,” said Jasperse.
Co-sponsored by Rep. John Meadows (R-Calhoun), this bill essentially asks the federal government for permission for Georgia to be excluded from Obamacare in order to regulate healthcare at the state level, Jasperse explained.
According to Jasperse, state regulation would be more beneficial because it is closer to the people who are directly affected.
The idea was brought to Meadows and Jasperse by Linda Fowler and Ed Painter, of the tea party of Murray County, according to Jasperse.
This initiative is not a new concept but is already being considered in several states including Minnesota, Tennessee and Texas.
“This bill originated from a group of people frustrated with Obamacare,” said Jasperse.
This compact would be non-binding to participating states; the option to exit would remain available. Under the compact, the federal government would still provide funding for state health care, which would be subject to individual state regulation.
This compact would also involve the formation of the Interstate Advisory Health Care Commission for participating states, which would collect information and data concerning the performance of various health care programs in the states.
This bill is in addition to the lawsuits filed by the states in response to the passing of Obamacare and may serve as a viable option if the lawsuits fail, Jasperse said.
“We’re just looking out for people,” he said. “… That’s our role at the capitol, to make sure we’re looking after our constituents.”
If this bill were to be passed into law it would still require a signature by Congress, said Jasperse. This bill deals strictly with state’s constitutional rights and not policy, he added.
“It’s working together to get healthcare decisions back in our hands.”
This bill has already seen a positive response from the state including an endorsement by the Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.
The bill passed in the House 110-60 on March 16.
Rep. Time Bearden (R-Villa Rica), Terry England (R-Auburn), Roger Williams (R-Dalton), Delvis Dutton (R-Glennville) and others are also co-sponsoring House Bill 461.
Senator Charlie Bethel, also recently introduced an identical bill to the state Senate for consideration.