(NASHVILLE, TN), January 19, 2011 – State Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) said today she will file legislation calling for Tennessee to join an interstate compact with the express purpose of returning the responsibility and authority for regulating health care to the states. There are also plans to file the “Health Care Compact” in a number of state legislatures during their 2011 sessions.
“An interstate health care compact is a powerful vehicle for states to confront the federal health care law mandated by Washington directly,” said Senator Beavers. “The federal health care law is one of the biggest oversteps of federal authority in our nation’s history. It forces states into a ‘one size fits all’ approach to public policy, and is in direct contradiction to state’s rights and the personal liberties guaranteed by our federal Constitution.”
The Health Care Compact provides a legal framework in which states can create their own healthcare systems. It essentially provides a permanent waiver to each member state to create whatever healthcare regulations the legislature deems best for the citizens of that state. The structure protects Medicare and Medicaid funding by allowing member states to access federal tax revenues directly and without strings attached. Beavers said the combination of a secure funding stream and maximum flexibility for state legislators will create the conditions for multiple solutions to emerge to the health care crisis.
“One size does not fit all,” Beavers added. “States have different needs which are not recognized in the federal mandates passed by Congress last year. The Health Care Compact does not mandate how each state will handle health care within their boundaries. It leaves them to decide how to create a system that fits their needs, providing greater accountability and more flexibility in delivering citizens a more efficient and effective system.”
A Thomson Reuters poll released January 18, 2011 shows that 65 percent of doctors believe that the federal health care law will cause health care quality to deteriorate, while only 18 percent predict that it will improve.
Beavers said she will begin the process of moving the proposal through the legislature when lawmakers return to Nashville in February.