THE HCC BLOG

DAILY CALLER: Failing Obamacare Co-Ops Offer Lavish Executive Pay — And May Violate the Law

POSTED one day ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

Faling Obamacare Co-Ops Offer Lavish Executive Pay - And May Violate the Law

By: Richard Pollock

Taxpayer-funded Obamacare health insurance co-op’s may be running afoul of the law by giving extravagant paychecks to their top executives, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.

More than a million Americans have enrolled in the 23 non-profit Obamacare co-ops since they began in 2011. The co-ops were intended to be consumer-operated non-profits focused on delivering healthcare to the working poor and others needing health insurance.

Eighteen of the 23 co-ops paid their top executives prodigious salaries ranging from $263,000 to $587,000, according to 2013 IRS tax filings.

The high take-home pay for the “nonprofit” executives appears to violate both federal law and Obamacare rules prohibiting “excessive executive compensation.”

The co-ops were originally funded in 2011 with $2 billion under Obamacare in an experiment to provide tax-paid competition to private sector health insurance providers.

Most of the Obamacare co-op executives are paid more than members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, U.S. cabinet secretaries and the governors of all 50 states.

Fears about excessive compensation were raised in 2011 by a key Obamacare co-op advisory board which set rules for the untested co-ops.

At a March 24, 2011, Washington, D.C. meeting, advisory board members openly agonized about the possibility of “unjust enrichment” by unscrupulous founders who sought to capture millions of dollars at the presumably “non-profit” cooperatives. They could not agree, however, on regulatory language to prohibit it.

TheDCNF probe found that their fears were justified.

The six-figure co-op salaries are two to four times higher than the $135,000 median executive healthcare pay reported in an October 2014 nonprofit CEO compensation study published by Charity Navigator. Charity Navigator is a nonpartisan group that tracks philanthropic and charitable organizations.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the federally funded co-ops, warned them in December 2011 that federal law bars the use of tax funds “to cover excessive executive compensation.”

Aaron Albright, a CMS spokesman, told TheDCNF that “the use of federal CO-OP loan funds is prohibited from, among other restrictions, providing excessive executive compensation.”

Albright did not define “excessive” compensation but he suggested that CMS approved the high salaries because his centers “review employment agreements for top executives of co-ops for compliance with the loan agreement.”

A section of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 established limits for federal contractor executive compensation at $487,000. At least five co-op executives were paid above those limits, including South Carolina, Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts and Louisiana.

The co-ops were also required by CMS to conduct surveys to “reflect the market rate for a similar position in your area.” Despite the government’s directive, however, only half of the co-ops conducted a review, according to their IRS forms.

The high co-op salaries also appear to conflict with President Obama’s personal campaign against high executive pay, which included his 2009 appointment of a “compensation czar” to investigate executive salaries at private companies.

Taxpayer advocates contacted by TheDCNF were outraged by the generous pay, especially in light of the perilous financial conditions that have many of the co-ops facing doubtful futures.

“I think it’s pretty shocking that they’re making that much money and what’s even worse is that most of these co-ops are failing,” said Elizabeth Wright, health and science director for Citizens Against Government Waste, a conservative non-profit advocacy group that has exposed wasteful federal spending since 1984.

Wright pointed to the collapse in December 2014 of the Iowa-based Co-Opportunity Health as a prime example of Obamacare co-op mismanagement. Co-Opportunity received $177 million in federal start-up loans before state regulators took it over and declared it in “hazardous” condition.

Before its collapse, David Lyons, Co-Opportunity’s president and CEO received $261,000 in compensation. Stephen Ringlee, Co-Opportunity’s CFO, received $257,000, despite having failed in several previous startups. Clifford Gold, its COO, took in $288,00.

Their pay was seven times the income for individual workers in Iowa, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

“This is really, really shocking, especially when you see how abysmally these co-ops are performing,” said Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute and a critic of Obamacare.

“What they have done is the worst of both worlds. Their organizations are failing and they’re paying CEO’s exorbitant salaries that are completely in contrast with the concept the co-ops were supposed to stand for,” Turner said.

Wright said it appears the co-ops have turned the familiar private-sector principle of “pay-for-performance” on its head in determining executive compensation: “They seem to be more careful managing their salaries than they are running the organizations they’re running.”

“As a president of a non-profit, you need to be a lot more fiscally responsible and fiscally cognizant of what you’re doing, and not just seeing it as a landing pad for a high paying salary,” said David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, another conservative non-profit advocacy group that analyses government spending and programs.

The top paid co-op executive was Thomas Policelli, CEO of Massachusetts’ Minuteman Health. He was awarded $587,000 in 2013, according to the co-op’s tax return. Minuteman was also among worst performing Obamacare co-ops, reporting only 1,700 enrollees at the end of 2014.

Minuteman’s cash-burn rate was 53 percent, with a net operating loss of $21 million last year, according to an analysis by Galen’s Turner and Thomas Miller, a senior health fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

In nearby Connecticut, HealthyCT paid Kenneth Lalime $352,000. The co-op reported total enrollment of only 7,966 and suffered operating losses of $28 million. Standard & Poor’s estimated its cash-burn rate at 61 percent.

Maryland’s Evergreen Health Cooperative’s Peter Beilenson was paid $263,000. His co-op enrolled only 2,129 customers versus 72,000 for Blue Cross/Blue Shield and compiled a net operating loss of $15 million last year. Evergreen’s burn rate was 125 percent of its capital through the first three quarters of 2014, according to S&P.

Jerry Burgess, president and CEO of South Carolina’s Consumers Choice Health Insurance Company, got the second highest compensation at $490,000.

Under his leadership, the co-op had a $10 million net operating loss last year. It exhausted half of its federally funded cash-on-hand by the third quarter of 2014, according to A.M. Best, an insurance rating firm.

Burgess’s pay is 14 times the average worker income of $34,266 in South Carolina, according to U.S. Census data.

Ralph Prows earned $355,000 as CEO of Oregon’s Health Co-op. The co-op ended up enrolling only 869 people. Prows resigned earlier this year.

David Young, CFO of Tennessee’s Community Health Alliance, received $280,000 in 2013, seven times the average worker’s take home pay of $37,678.

Community Health also suffered the largest deficit of all the health co-ops, spending 314% of its allotted federal revenue in a single year, according to S&P. The Tennessee co-op received $73 million in loan money under Obamacare.

Nevada health co-op has another problem in addition to sky-high salaries, nepotism. Nevada Health CO-OP is top-heavy with members of the long-troubled UNITE HERE union, which represents casino workers in the state and has been accused of corruption by other union officials.

Tom Zumtobell, the co-op’s CEO, received $414,000 in 2013. He is a former UNITE Here vice president and lives in Reno, 450 miles from the co-op’s Las Vegas headquarters. Kathy Silver received $377,000 as the co-op’s treasurer. Silver is the former board president of the local UNITE HERE chapter.

Bobbette Bond, the co-op’s secretary, hauled in $222,000. She was UNITE HERE’s chief lobbyist. Her husband is Donald “D” Taylor, UNITE HERE’s national president and a director of the co-op.

The Nevada co-op lost $20 million last year and burned through 92 percent of its Obamacare funding in the first three quarters of 2014, according to S&P.

Douglas Smith is CEO of Utah’s Arches Mutual Insurance Company co-op. He received $320,000, nine times the state’s average salary of $32,601. His co-op had a burn rate of 74 percent in the first three quarters of 2014 and operating losses of more than $31 million.

Montana’s Jerry Dworak was paid $306,000 in largely rural Montana where the average income is $37,370. Dworak’s salary was eight times the average income in the state.

Health Connection’s CEO Mark Epstein got $296,000 while running up $9 million in operating losses last year. The New Mexico co-op also burned through 42 percent of its funding, according to S&P.

Kentucky’s co-op has been hailed as a success story, enrolling nearly 67,000 people, which is 82 percent of all private enrollees in the state’s Obamacare exchange.

Its burn rate, however, was 53 percent and it had the highest operating losses in the entire nation, at $127 million. Jania Miller, Kentucky’s CEO, got $307,000 in compensation, nine times the average take home pay for a worker there of $35,041.

The only state to show a net profit in 2014 was tiny Maine. Its CEO, Kevin Lewis, was paid $264,000.

Although Maine is known for expensive summer homes, its year-round population earns only $39,481 per worker. That means Lewis earned nine times the average worker’s income.

The National Alliance of State Health CO-OP’s, the industry’s trade association, did not respond to multiple DCNF requests for comment. Nine of the association’s 20 board members were among the highest paid CEOs.

An Honest Conversation About Medicare

POSTED about 4 weeks ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

An Honest Conversation About Medicare

by: Dave Sterrett

Read Original Article Here

Lately both major political parties in Vermont have been competing to prove that they are the stronger defender of traditional Medicare.  Any policy that might potentially address some of Medicare's many flaws is characterized as an attack on Vermont's seniors.  It's time to get beyond the rhetoric and have an honest conversation about Medicare.  

I do want to mention that I am not raising these problems with Medicare because I am against universal health care.  I believe we can provide universal health care to all Americans in a more cost-effective manner than we currently do and achieve better health outcomes.  So my critiques of the Medicare program have nothing to do with its aims.  It's just that there are many flaws in the current Medicare program. 

1) Medicare is rife with fraud: 

In 2012, former CMS Director Don Berwick (a fervent supporter of government-run health care) and Andrew Hackbarth of the Rand Corporation estimated that 10% of Medicare spending, $98 billion annually, goes to fraud.  This is due to Medicare's "pay and chase" system.  Medicare pays claims without question to speed up the payment process and tries to "chase" down fraudulent payments after the checks have been cashed.  

2) Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance Trust Fund) will be Insolvent by 2026:  

Medicare has an independent advisory board, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC), made up of some of the brightest and independent health care thinkers in the country.  In their March 2014 report to the U.S. Congress, MEDPAC explains that Medicare Part A will become insolvent by 2026 because of "the sustained increase in the number of Medicare beneficiaries."  

3) Medicare Can't Negotiate for Prescription Drug Prices: 

The Medicare program is not allowed to use its enormous purchasing power to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices.  That means the per unit prices for prescriptions is the same for Medicare if it is paying for 1 pill or 1 million pills.  No one who honestly believes in free markets could support this restriction.  The Congressional Budget Office estimates changing this provision will save Medicare $15.5 billion per year. 

4) Doctors Set Their Own Prices in Medicare: 

The major trade association for doctors, the American Medical Association, has established a 31-member committee entitled the Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) that decides the value of all procedures performed by doctors in Medicare.  They essentially set their own prices with impunity. 
It's no surprise that Medicare Part A is going bankrupt when there is so much fraud in the system and taxpayers are paying highly-inflated prices to pharmaceutical companies and doctors through the program.  Let's have an honest conversation about Medicare.  It needs to be drastically changed to remain solvent.  Let's return Medicare decision-making to the states by using the Health Care Compact as a tool to provide better care to our seniors at a lower cost.  

Dave Sterrett, Esq., a health care advocate and attorney, is Principal at the Health Care Policy Group and represents the Health Care Compact.    

THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Assert states’ authority over health policy

POSTED one month ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

Assert states’ authority over health policy 

 

Read The Original Article In The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Here

By Doug Collins

Obamacare is costing Georgians jobs and income. However, the Supreme Court could soon overturn important parts of the president’s health care law — not because of its economic effects, but because the federal government usurped states’ power. 

Drafters of the bill never imagined so many would refuse to implement the top-down legislation. No matter. When states refused to open taxpayer-subsidized insurance “markets,” federal bureaucrats stepped in. Because Washington still has no contingency plan in the event the court strikes down its blatant disregard for the letter of the law, I am sponsoring a bill to let states repair the damage. 

Georgia is one of nine states that have already adopted the Health Care Compact, an alternative to one-size-fits-all regulations from Washington. The HCC shifts health care policy power and funding to states from federal agencies. It provides a legal shield against further encroachment. 

Interstate compacts like the HCC are as old as the Constitution. States have turned to them hundreds of times since our country’s founding to administer everything from agriculture to energy projects. 

Under Article I, they require Congress’ consent. My bill grants approval, freeing Georgia and cooperating states from the inefficient, ineffective and poorly named Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. 

States that choose to join the Health Care Compact, as Georgia has done, would manage their own health care affairs with existing federal funds. Each could choose the system that best serves its residents: a market-based system, a single-payer one, or any variation in between. 

The HCC would continue to allow federal health care programs for the military, veterans and Native Americans. The Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health would remain federal responsibilities. 

The case is clear: More than 96 percent of health care is provided and consumed within a state’s borders by its own residents, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Localized services would be more responsive, and Georgians want them closer to home. 

The Health Care Compact, returning spending and policy details to states like Georgia, solves the errors of centralized power and decision-making that bedevil health care right now. Cost and quality will never improve as long as faraway politicians and bureaucrats, or even Supreme Court justices, call the shots. 

The Health Care Compact is about more than health care. A core American value is at stake: A government that resides closest to the people governs best.

Rep. Doug Collins, a Republican from Hall County, represents Georgia’s 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

FOX NEWS: A second chance to get America’s health care right: Give authority to our states

POSTED one month ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

A second chance to get America's health care right: Give authority to our states

READ ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON FOX NEWS HERE

By  Sen. John Cornyn, Sen. James Lankford

Published May 15, 2015 

Health care reform has dominated our nation’s political and social conversations for the past six years. After the implementation of ObamaCare, it is clear the law brought radical change and real pain to our nation’s families, economy, and health care system. The promised "affordable health care fix" made things worse.  

The pending King v. Burwell case reveals another interesting legal problem with the policy and text of the Affordable Care Act. As written, the federally controlled subsidies and employer mandates are not allowed, unless a state chooses them. Now the Supreme Court debates, behind closed doors, the question of state responsibility and textual intent to determine the direction of health care in America. The resulting Supreme Court opinion could dismantle the structure of ObamaCare and give America a second chance to get health care reform right.  

Ironically, the issue of state responsibility could take ObamaCare down and lift individual citizens up.

States are generally more effective regulators than the federal government. Allowing states to assume responsibility and maintain authority moves people from numbers on a spreadsheet to neighbors down the street. 

The Constitution gives states the power to regulate health care within their state and voluntarily compact with other states, but the federal government has attempted to preempt state action by assuming centralized control. What is needed is clear legislation that affirms the right of states to compact with one another to return authority for health care regulation to states that choose to participate.

Interstate compacts have been used on more than 200 occasions to establish agreements between and among states. Mentioned in Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution, state compacts provide authority and flexibility to administer government programs without federal interference. In the Compact structure, federal health care tax money and responsibility is returned to a state when they expand their existing Healthcare Authority structure.  Congressional consent is extended when states enter into a legally binding compact. It is similar to a multitude of other grants made by the federal government to states and local entities.

Complexity empowers big government, simplicity empowers families and local leaders.  Giving health care authority to states is simple and beneficial because they are able to enact accountability, efficiencies and tailor their system to fit the exact needs of their population. One size does not fit all – ObamaCare proves that. The health challenges and population needs of Vermont or California are not the same as Texas or Oklahoma.  

Why should bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. manage all health care systems the same way?

Health care is large, complex, and challenging to manage at the federal level. With a federal system that impacts over 300 million people, $2.3 trillion spent annually and almost 3,000 pages of regulations for Medicare and Medicaid, federal management of our health care system is inefficient and virtually occluded from individualized input. The Medicare fraud rate has hovered around 10 percent for decades, with over $50 billion in annual lost tax money.  Big systems allow massive financial loss and make individual citizens small.  

States are generally more effective regulators than the federal government. Allowing states to assume responsibility and maintain authority moves people from numbers on a spreadsheet to neighbors down the street. Rural health care struggles to get the attention of federal agencies, but they would have the consistent ear of state agencies. 

Some people assume only people in Washington, D.C. care about the health needs of people across the nation, but we can assure you that state leaders and state agencies deeply care for their neighbors and want to find ways to help them. In fact, before the Affordable Care Act passed, our states had already initiated systems to care for those without health care. Unfortunately, the state solutions were forced out when ObamaCare took over.

The Compact is an option that ensures the people of each state will have a choice. States can opt in to the Compact – or not.  To date, the Health Care Compact has been formally requested by 9 states – Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah – and several other states are considering it.  

As Congress works towards solutions to the problems created by the top-down approach of ObamaCare, we want to let states innovate to serve their citizens’ health care needs.  When the Supreme Court rules on King v. Burwell in favor of state responsibility, we want to let states innovate ways to serve their citizens’ health care.

 

Republican John Cornyn represents Texas in the United States Senate where he serves on the Judiciary Committee. He is a former state attorney general.

Republican James Lankford represents Oklahoma in the United States Senate.

REP. DOUG COLLINS INTRODUCES HEALTH CARE COMPACT APPROVAL

POSTED one month ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

REP. DOUG COLLINS INTRODUCES HEALTH CARE COMPACT APPROVAL

HOUSE RESOLUTION WOULD GRANT STATES AUTHORITY OVER HEALTH CARE POLICY

WASHINGTON, DC. -- Congressman Doug Collins (GA09) today introduced a House Joint Resolution that would permit states to form a Health Care Compact (HCC). Nine states, including Rep. Collins' Georgia, have signed on to the agreement to re-take control of health care decision-making from the federal government.

      “Obamacare has been an economic and legal disaster," said Rep. Collins, "destroying jobs and economic growth, also the underpinnings of our system of limited government. I'm introducing this conservative bill to restore states’ power over policy decisions that Washington bureaucrats have claimed for themselves." He said the HCC would improve patient choice, affordability and outcomes.

    The House Judiciary Committee member represented parts of his current congressional district when he occupied Georgia’s state house – and voted to make his state the first in the country to adopt the Health Care Compact. In total, nine state legislatures have adopted it, and more are considering joining the HCC.

    Under Article I of the Constitution, Congress must approve any such interstate agreement.  "I'm proud to offer this common-sense solution to increase efficiency and effectiveness of health care services, 96 percent of which Americans consume within state borders. It's natural that home-grown solutions would be more efficient and effective," said Rep. Collins.

    He explained that widespread Obamacare trouble – from insurance cancelations and a crashing website to higher premiums and federal taxes – underscore the need for state authority over health care systems. "Federal agencies have long assumed states would be lost without reams of regulations and interfered with innovation," said Rep. Collins. "This Administration's incompetence has only hastened the need for a Health Care Compact."

    States that join the compact could institute reforms to suit their specific needs, be they market-based reforms, single-payer plans or any variation. States would take advantage of existing federal funds to implement their unique programs, while the federal government would continue to run programs for military members, veterans and Native Americans.

    In the past, states have entered into compacts to better manage energy and agriculture projects, for instance. "What we're saying in Georgia, Oklahoma, Indiana and elsewhere is that compacts work. And in the event the Supreme Court strikes down key parts of Obamacare, Congress and states have a ready solution."

    Once Congress approves the Heath Care Compact, it would shield states against future regulatory encroachment, and only Congress could invalidate it. Returning health care spending and policy details to the states addresses the bigger problem that has bedeviled our system – centralization of decision-making in Washington, D.C.,” said Rep. Collins. “This resolution is about more than health care then. It’s about a core American value: The government that governs closest to the people governs best."

* To view Rep. Collins’ resolution, Health Care Compact language and more, please visit his site at this link.

BURLINGTON FREE PRESS: Vermont Health Care Solution

POSTED 2 months ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

By: Dave Sterrett

Read original article here

Vermont, like most other states, is struggling with how to pay for ever-increasing health care costs. Out-of pocket expenses for Vermonters continue to rise and the price tag for Vermont’s partially functional Health Connect website is estimated to hit $200 million. What Vermont needs is a unique Vermont solution to health care.

Here in Vermont we like to do things our own way. Vermonters strongly support their local farms, local beer, and increasingly generate their own power through solar generation. Vermonters know best about the type of health care system they need and that is where Vermont health care decisions should be made.

A tri-partisan group of legislators in the Vermont House of Representatives is promoting a solution that would give Vermont flexibility over Vermont’s federal health care dollars. These legislators are supporting legislation calling on Vermont to join an interstate Health Care Compact, which would bring states together to work on innovative health care solutions. The compact is a working group whose goal is to identify creative state-based health care policies and work together to petition the U.S. Congress to allow those solutions.

The Vermont legislators supporting the compact believe that states truly are the laboratories of democracy. They understand that if Vermont is to pursue an “all payer waiver” from strict Medicare and Medicaid rules and avoid a $40 million annual charge to the state from Obamacare’s “Cadillac tax,” Vermont needs freedom from the most onerous federal health care laws.

By participating in the compact, Vermont officials could learn a lot of best practices from other states and share Vermont’s ground-breaking ideas. As the Vermont Legislature wrestles with a multitude of health care problems, hopefully they will adopt the Health Care Compact soon.

Dave Sterrett, of Montpelier, a health care advocate and attorney, is principal at the Health Care Policy Group and represents the Health Care Compact

THE OHIO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: House Bill 34 - Taking A Stand For Ohioans’ Healthcare

POSTED about 3 months ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

By: Ohio State Representative Ron Maag

Read original article here

As in all General Assemblies, protecting the healthcare of Ohioans is a very important issue to those of us in the state legislature. That is why I decided to co-sponsor a bill, introduced by my colleagues Representative Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) and Representative Terry Boose (R-Norwalk), that I see as crucial to protecting the healthcare coverage of my constituents and citizens around the state.

House Bill 34 seeks to ratify the Health Care Compact, which allows Ohio to suspend the operation of all federal laws, rules, regulations, and orders regarding healthcare that are inconsistent with Ohio laws adopted pursuant to the Compact. I believe that this issue is better served at the state level, by Ohioans who know what we as a state need in terms of coverage.

Restoring the power to regulate healthcare to the states is crucial. House Bill 34 would require that Ohio secures Congress’s consent to regulate its own healthcare standards, freeing us from unnecessary federal regulations and mandates.

The bill would also require our governor to appoint a member to the Interstate Advisory Health Care Commission, which would collect and evaluate information that is needed for these member states to regulate their own healthcare system. Input from all members and states on this commission will be valuable in making determinations for the future.

By placing a firm focus on how to best serve our residents, I believe we can take a step in the right direction in terms of offering Ohioans exceptional healthcare options while removing hindrances from the federal government. I want our citizens to have access to affordable, reliable care that does not encourage a dependence on government services. I will continue to support regulations made by Ohioans for Ohioans.

Please feel free to contact my office regarding this legislation or any other state government related issue. My door is always open as I continue to serve as your state representative. You can contact me at (614) 644-6023 or Rep62@ohiohouse.gov

THE LEBANON DEMOCRAT: Pody speaks to Wilson County Tea Party

POSTED about 4 months ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

He shared not only the bills he will he sponsored this session, but also the strategy he uses to decide on how he will vote on a bill.  He began with a description of the preliminary mechanics of how the House operates before it rolls into full Session.

The House is charged with meeting 90 legislative days during the next two years. A legislative day is logged when roll call is taken and typically happens Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The first two weeks of the session are primarily organizational when seating, office and committee assignments are made, Pody explained.

This year, Gov. Bill Haslam called a special session of the legislature to decide whether to approve the Insure Tennessee Medicare expansion program.  Pody questioned the governor’s reasoning for this because he did not have the votes going into it. Five of six committees within the House could have killed the bill, but the Senate did instead.

“If someone asks me, ‘Will you co-sponsor this bill?’ my response will always be, ‘Let me read it first and understand it,’” Pody said.  

He said lobbyists and other representatives promoting bills will try to offer a quick summary of its content to get him to sign on as a co-sponsor, but he holds his ground. As a result, Pody’s name shows up the least among all of the representatives as a co-sponsor of bills moving through the House.

In addition to reading and understanding a bill, Pody said he makes it a point to talk to all sides of the issue before committing to a decision.  

“Some may try to accuse me of waffling because these steps take time,” he said. “But when I make a decision I want it to be one of substance because it will affect the lives of many people.”

Once he has read and understands a bill and has spoken to those parties affected, Pody shared the decision Ps he uses to decide how he will cast his vote: 

• Is the issue principle based?  Using his pro-life position as an example, he cited his vote will always reflect his principles.

• What is the policy? Or, how do we get there? He used the various roads on a map as a metaphor to explain there is more than one path to reach a conclusion.

• What are the politics? The system of government is not perfect and issues are subject to political influence, Pody said.

• What is the level of passion? Not all bills are created equal.  Some are more important than others.

• People – who is affected?  “I represent 67,000 people and my vote needs to reflect their needs,” Pody said.

• Where is the proof?  Volunteers help by digging through piles of information to get to the real facts of the matter.

• Pray for guidance. Once all the information is gathered and evaluated, he prays for guidance to cast the right vote.

Concluding his remarks on strategy he moved into a discussion of the bills he plans to sponsor this session.  

“The Healthcare Compact bill would keep the federal government out of our health care system. It nearly passed last year, and I believe there was a good chance it will pass this year,” Pody said.

He also plans to sponsor a bill to make the attorney general an elected office with a six-year term. If it was to be made a four- or eight-year term, it would align with the governor’s race, which he felt would be influenced the candidate running.

Emission testing of new cars less than three years old with less than 36,000 miles should be eliminated. He said it is nothing more than an added tax on new car owners and plans to sponsor a bill calling for the emission testing rules to be changed.

With the recent passage of the Keystone Pipeline bill, Pody said he would like to pass a resolution citing with its completion, the U.S. should be buying its imported oil from Canada rather than the Middle East. He would also like to see sales tax from tire sales in Tennessee be allocated to the Tennessee Department of Transportation instead of raising the gasoline tax in the state.

The next Wilson County Tea Party Meeting will be April 27 at the Ward Ag Center. Laurie Cardoza-Moore will be the guest speaker. She is president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations and is an expert on Israel. Visit wilsoncountyteaparty.com for more information.

THE HILL: Is Supreme Court’s chief justice ready to take down ObamaCare?

POSTED about 4 months ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts faced a conservative backlash after casting a decisive vote to save ObamaCare in 2012. 

Now he must weigh in on the law once again. 
 
The case of King v. Burwell, set for arguments before the Court on Wednesday, threatens to gut the law by invalidating subsidies to help millions of people buy insurance in the roughly three-dozen states relying on the federally run marketplace. 
 
While it is legally far different than the 2012 case — a question of interpreting the text of the law rather than ruling on its constitutionality — Roberts faces the same kind of scrutiny. 
 
After Roberts’s surprise ruling in a 5-4 decision to uphold the law the last time, conservatives denounced him as a sellout. Conservative host Glenn Beck printed T-shirts with Roberts’s picture above the word “COWARD.” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, now a possible Republican presidential candidate, said Roberts was “just playing to the editorial pages of The Washington Post and The New York Times.”

CBS reported after the decision, citing two anonymous sources, that Roberts had switched his vote to uphold the law and withstood a fierce lobbying campaign from the conservative wing of the Court. 
 
Now conservatives are putting pressure on Roberts again. John Yoo, who was a prominent lawyer in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department, wrote in National Review that the new case gives Roberts “the chance to atone for his error in upholding Obamacare.”
 
But it remains unclear which way Roberts will rule. The challengers argue that the plain English of a phrase in the law referring to marketplaces “established by the state” clearly prohibits subsidies from being disbursed on federally run exchanges not established by states. 
 
The administration argues that is a nonsensical reading of one phrase that is contradicted by the rest of the law, which makes no mention of restricting subsidies only to some states. 
 
Supporters of upholding the subsidies also have their eyes on Roberts. “The chief is clearly the prime person to look at,” said Simon Lazarus, senior counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center. 
 
The legal world is buzzing about a decision the Supreme Court handed down on Wednesday, thinking it might provide a window into how Roberts will rule in King. 
 
In the case, Yates v. United States — which centers on a fisherman accused of destroying evidence that he violated restrictions — Roberts joined a majority opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal, holding that a fish is not a “tangible object” under a certain law. While a fish is literally a “tangible object,” Ginsburg, along with Roberts, pointed to Congress’s intent in passing the law, which was to crack down on financial fraud, and said that fish have nothing to do with that. 
 
“When interpreting statutory text, Roberts isn’t as fixated on isolated words and phrases as some Justices sometimes are,” Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor who taught Roberts as a student, wrote in an email. “He pays close attention to the context in which phrases appear and to a statute’s overall purpose. That became especially clear when he joined Justice Ginsburg’s plurality opinion on Feb. 25 holding that fish didn’t count as ‘tangible objects.’”
 
But Jonathan Adler, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University, and an architect of the challenge to the subsidies, said “no one believes” that context is not important. 
 
He focuses instead on the justices’ history of saying that “you can’t rewrite clear terms” in a law. 
 
A window into Roberts’s thinking that could give hope to the challengers of the subsidies, on the other hand, is the chief justice’s opinion in the 2013 case striking down part of the Voting Rights Act. There, he reasoned that Congress could simply redo the outdated formula for applying the law that he was striking down, without factoring in congressional gridlock. 
 
That shows Roberts is willing to adopt “pretend naïveté about the political process,” and eases the way for him to strike down provisions by simply giving the problem back to Congress to fix, said Richard Hasen, a law professor at the University of California. 
 
Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, who make up the liberal wing of the Court, are widely expected to vote to uphold the subsidies. Justices Alito, Thomas, and Scalia are seen as more likely to vote to strike them down. Justice Kennedy, often the swing vote, could be in the air along with Roberts. 
 
“Justice Kennedy and the chief tend to be more in the middle,” said Chris Walker, an Ohio State law professor and former clerk for Kennedy. 
 
“They tend to be lighter versions of textualism,” he said, meaning that they are more likely to also consider factors like the purpose of the law as a whole. 
 
A broader potential factor in Roberts’s decision is his interest in the legitimacy of the Court in the eyes of the public, and his worry about appearing too partisan. 
 
"We are not Republicans or Democrats," Roberts said in a speech in September. "I'm worried about people having that perception."

By: Peter Sullivan

FORBES: Obamacare Is Punishing Working-Class Americans

POSTED 4 months ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

Employees at Staples will soon get a little bit more vacation — thanks to Obamacare. Unfortunately, that time off will be unpaid — and in most cases, unwelcome.

The retailer, which employs 85,000 people, has limited part-time work to 25 hours a week to avoid Obamacare’s fines for not providing insurance to those who work 30 or more hours a week.

President Obama refused to acknowledge that his healthcare law played a part in Staples’ decision. “I haven’t looked at Staples stock lately or what the compensation of the CEO is, but I suspect that they could well afford to treat their workers favorably,” he said of the company during a recent interview. “Shame on them.”

But if Obamacare had never become law, scores of working-class Americans would be logging more hours and making more money. The president’s health law has effectively taken money out of their pockets.

The main culprit is Obamacare’s employer mandate. This year, companies with 100 or more employees must provide all who put in 30 or more hours a week “affordable” insurance that meets Obamacare’s generous coverage standards. Next year, the rule will apply to companies with 50 or more workers.

The law defines coverage as affordable if it consumes less than 9.5% of an employee’s income.

Companies that refuse to comply are subject to fines equal to the lesser of $2,000 per worker, with the first 30 exempted from the calculation, or $3,000 per employee who goes on to secure subsidized coverage in Obamacare’s individual insurance exchanges.

The average cost of individual employer-sponsored health insurance exceeded $6,000 last year. The fines for failing to provide it can amount to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It’s no wonder that companies are trying to dodge these expenses by making full-time employees part-timers. Workers ultimately pay the price, as they notch fewer hours and take home smaller paychecks.

Staples isn’t the only employer to cut hours. Investor’s Business Daily has tallied more than 450 private companies and government agencies that have done the same.

Betsy Webb, a school superintendent in Maine, recently testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that her school system will have to cut substitute teachers’ hours, as it can’t afford to provide them health insurance. The school will also have to require those working two part-time jobs for the district to quit one of them.

As she told the senators, everyone loses.

Other schools have had similar experiences. More than 200 colleges have cut work hours because of the mandate, according to the College Fix, a higher education news source.

The Obamacare-fueled switch to part-time work is exacerbating our economy’s ongoing struggle to create full-time jobs. Andy Puzder, chief executive for CKE Restaurants, recently told a Senate panel that nearly 2 million people were working two part-time jobs last year. That’s the highest level since the government started tracking in 1994.

Even though the recession officially ended almost six years ago, there are still 6.8 million people working part-time today who want a full time job. An additional 6 million want a job but have quit looking altogether.

None of these data points suggests that Obamacare is helping working Americans.

Economists at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management agree. They’ve concluded that the employer mandate is doing more harm than good to workers. Even the liberal Urban Institute’s research has demonstrated that the mandate will do almost nothing to increase the rate of insurance coverage.

The U.S. Supreme Court could strike a significant blow against the employer mandate — and thereby help businesses and workers alike — when it hears King v. Burwell on March 4. At issue is whether the federal government can provide subsidies for insurance purchased through the federal healthcare.gov insurance exchange.

Obamacare’s text suggests that the feds cannot. Section 36B clearly states that the government can offer tax credits only to those people enrolled in “an Exchange established by the State.” Healthcare.gov does not fall under that category.

A Supreme Court ruling against Obamacare would effectively repeal the employer mandate in the 37 states served by healthcare.gov. After all, businesses only face a penalty for not providing affordable insurance if their employees purchase subsidized coverage through the exchanges. No subsidies, no penalty.

Obamacare’s definition of 30 hours as full time would no longer be valid. Employers could put people back to work.

Several senators don’t want to wait for the High Court to act. Sens. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Barrasso, (R-Wyo.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and John Thune (R-S.D.) have co-sponsored legislation that would repeal Obamacare’s 30-hour rule nationwide — and define a full-timer as someone who works 40 hours a week.

Sens. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) have sponsored a measure that would go even farther — and repeal the employer mandate altogether. Twenty-six other senators have co-sponsored the measure.

The president may have assumed that companies would simply absorb the cost of his employer mandate. But companies cannot conjure out of thin air the thousands or millions of dollars needed to comply with the president’s diktats.

As long as Obamacare and its employer mandate exist, working Americans will continue to pay a hefty price.

Sally C. Pipes is President, CEO, and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute. Her latest book is The Cure for Obamacare (Encounter 2013).

FORBES: How Obamacare Pits Insurers Against The Medical Industry

POSTED 4 months ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

Health plans say they were caught unprepared by the cost of covering a new cure for hepatitis C. They say they didn’t foresee the spending, and didn’t plan for it. Yet everyone else in healthcare seems to have known price tag well in advance.

Wall Street analysts predicted the number of patients doctors were “warehousing” for immediate treatment. The drug’s maker, Gilead Sciences GILD +1.81%, Inc, had telegraphed the pill’s list price well before its launch. The estimated FDA approval date was known for almost two years before the medicine went on sale. In fact, a unit of United Healthcare published some of the best analysis of the projected costs – two years ago.

Were the health plans being disingenuous, or purposely naïve? More likely, they were setting up a political contest that’s going to become more customary as a result of Obamacare. With insurers’ ability to raise premiums tightly controlled by Washington, and with new costs imposed through federal mandates that regulate what they must cover, the plans are going to be increasingly pressed to find political justification for premium hikes. This year, a new drug became the perfect foil.

These shenanigans are not a new phenomenon – the various actors in healthcare have long treated the industry’s economics as a zero sum game. Each sector blames the others for their rising costs. Insurers, for their part, have long used healthcare charges as justification for their premium hikes, whether it’s the rising cost of hospital care, paying doctors, or — in this case – new drugs and medical devices.

But Obamacare asserts tight regulation over the annual premium increases that insurers can take, nationalizing that process. Now premium increases aren’t reported on a state-by-state basis, but closely watched as a national standard.

That turns the industry’s rate cycle into a closely watched political event. It will require a rotating roster of cause célèbre to give reason to premium hikes — politicizing that process. This will put insurers at odds with the products and services they purchase on behalf of their customers. To keep their hands cleaner, individual health plans will wage these national fights through their Washington trade association.

These premium decisions were once local events, swayed by economic factors that were particular to each state. We’re already seeing that these rate cycles will be increasingly noisy, and national, adding to the political scrutiny. Insurers need politically minded arguments that can resonate across different markets – and most of all, resound in Washington. This year, a new cure for hepatitis C became the justification.

When it comes to drugs, in particular, health plans have long complained that they get caught off guard by the cost of having to cover new innovations. But the drug pipeline isn’t a mystery. The list of drugs awaiting FDA approval is available through Google GOOGL -1.42%. Wall Street analysts carefully estimate the odds of approval, the expected prices, and projected sales. These numbers make their way into the financial press.

Take Sovaldi, the cure for hepatitis C that has the subject of the health insurance industry’s recent protests. In November 2013, the widely followed investment research firm ISI Group published a survey of more than 200 investors where it reliably estimated the expected cost and market size for Sovaldi, well ahead of its launch. Investors accurately expected a 12-week course of therapy to be list priced at around $85,000 (the actual cost of the drug is now substantially lower, on the order of about $50,000 owing to price competition that has led to discounts).

Like reports published by Guggenheim in November 2012, and Citigroup C -1.35%in March 2012, analysts predicted rapid early uptake of Sovaldi as a result of patients that had been “warehoused” by doctors. These were patients who had decided to temporarily forgo other available treatment for their hepatitis C in anticipation of the new and more effective generation of drugs, of which Sovaldi was the first.

All of this is consistent with opinions expressed in an April 12, 2013 survey of 50 payers from the health insurance space that was published by healthcare analysts at the investment bank JP Morgan. Taken about eight months before the drug’s December 6, 2013 approval, the survey found a “majority of payors aware of and prepared for a large influx of warehoused hep c patients in treatment.”

Sovaldi, in the end, didn’t disrupt the industry’s earnings. The health plans reported favorable quarters all year. They’ve been one of the best performing sectors on Wall Street. All of the major plans had positive prior period reserve development (PPRD) meaning that they actually put away more money then they spent, even while they were funding the rollout of Sovaldi. None of the plans were upside down.

Even if the health plans didn’t specifically reserve against the anticipated costs of Sovaldi, it didn’t matter. They all had extra money built into their budgets.

But the drug provided some timely justification for rate increases during the current cycle, even as the cost of providing each course of the hepatitis C treatment has fallen sharply owing to new competition. It was an easy argument for the insurance industry to roll out on a national scale, and one that resonated in Washington, where anti-drug industry bias runs strong. Insurance rate increases are now more highly politicized than ever before. Obamacare proponents are trying to keep them low to show that the law is working. Critics point to outsized increases as proof its not.

This has put the insurance industry in an economic bind. Obamacare saddles insurers with new, costly mandates and regulation. At the same time, it caps their operating margins. It squeezes their budgets at the same time that the legislation adds to their costs. The end result? The industry’s finances are no longer based on the laws of economics, or healthcare. They are decided by the rules of politics.

So insurers are pressed to find politically palatable justification for their rate hikes. They can’t blame Obamacare with the Obama White House still in charge of these decisions. Their rows were once made before state legislatures and insurance commissioners. Now they’re made on Capitol Hill and Independence Avenue.

By: Scott Gottlieb

THE JOURNAL-NEWS: State Rep. Wes Retherford introduces State-based alternative to Obamacare

POSTED 4 months ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

COLUMBUS — If Ohio likes its Obamacare, it can keep its Obamacare – but it won’t have to if a group of state lawmakers have their way.

State Rep. Wes Retherford, Hamilton -House District 51, and Rep. Terry Boose, Norwalk – House District 57, have introduced legislation that would give Ohio greater control over federal health care programs. It’s called the Health Care Compact, and it would allow Columbus to regulate health care and provide an alternative to Obamacare.

“We’ve begun to see with Obamacare and the Veterans Administration debacles that a centralized health care system run out of Washington is destined to fail.  States should be free to come up with the approach that best reflects the needs and wants of its citizens,” Retherford said. “By transferring decision-making authority, responsibility and control of federal health care funding from Washington, D.C. to Columbus, the Health Care Compact gives Ohio the option to choose a different health insurance system than Obamacare, one that actually works to meet our families’ needs.

“The Health Care Compact will shield Ohio citizens and businesses from the burdensome regulations of Obamacare, and protect our seniors from the $700 billion dollars that Obamacare cuts from Medicare to pay for Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies,” he said.

The move to give states more say-so over health care policy is gaining momentum. The Health Care Compact has been approved by nine states — Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Kansas and Utah.

“Under the Healthcare Compact we won’t have a national program. Some states could implement a single-payer system, while others push more market-oriented mechanisms.  Others could choose to remain in the federal program,” Wetherford said.  “The Health Care Compact has only one single requirement for every state: it requires that federal health-care dollars be spent on health care, and only on health care – they cannot be siphoned off to other, non-health-care programs. After that, the citizens of Ohio and their representatives in Columbus will decide how those dollars will be spent to provide the best health care for the citizens of Ohio.”

Under the Interstate Health Care Compact, Ohio would receive annual federal funding that must be spent on health care programs within the state.  Ohio’s allotment would be calculated from a baseline of 2010 federal health care spending in the state, adjusted for changes in population and inflation.

State compacts are governing tools that have been used on a number of occasions to establish agreements between and among states. Mentioned in Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution, compacts are the constitutional instruments that provide authority and flexibility to the states for administering specific programs. Congressional approval is required for states to enter into a legally binding compact.

More than 96 percent of health care is provided and consumed within a state by residents of that state. The Health Care Compact recognizes that since the lions share of health care is locally provided and locally consumed, regulating it at the state level makes more sense than mandating a single set of policies from Washington. Centralized micromanagement of a complex industry serving more than 300 million people won’t work.

“Americans are expected to spend $4 trillion on health care this year,” Retherford said. “Letting one group of bureaucrats manage that in Washington makes no sense. Each state is different — different demographics, different insurance companies, different political perspectives — so a single national solution is madness. The Interstate Health Care Compact allows for uniquely tailored, state-based solutions to health care delivery and affordability problems.

“A one-size-fits-all health care policy handed down from Washington simply does not work.

The Health Care Compact gives states decision-making authority so they can design healthcare programs that meet their unique needs and priorities,” said Shonda Werry, executive director of Competitive Governance Action, the non-profit organization that advocates for interstate compacts.

THE SIDNEY POST: State Rep. Wes Retherford introduces State-based alternative to Obamacare

POSTED 4 months ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

COLUMBUS — If Ohio likes its Obamacare, it can keep its Obamacare – but it won’t have to if a group of state lawmakers have their way.

State Rep. Wes Retherford, Hamilton -House District 51, and Rep. Terry Boose, Norwalk – House District 57, have introduced legislation that would give Ohio greater control over federal health care programs. It’s called the Health Care Compact, and it would allow Columbus to regulate health care and provide an alternative to Obamacare.

“We’ve begun to see with Obamacare and the Veterans Administration debacles that a centralized health care system run out of Washington is destined to fail.  States should be free to come up with the approach that best reflects the needs and wants of its citizens,” Retherford said. “By transferring decision-making authority, responsibility and control of federal health care funding from Washington, D.C. to Columbus, the Health Care Compact gives Ohio the option to choose a different health insurance system than Obamacare, one that actually works to meet our families’ needs.

“The Health Care Compact will shield Ohio citizens and businesses from the burdensome regulations of Obamacare, and protect our seniors from the $700 billion dollars that Obamacare cuts from Medicare to pay for Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies,” he said.

The move to give states more say-so over health care policy is gaining momentum. The Health Care Compact has been approved by nine states — Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Kansas and Utah.

“Under the Healthcare Compact we won’t have a national program. Some states could implement a single-payer system, while others push more market-oriented mechanisms.  Others could choose to remain in the federal program,” Wetherford said.  “The Health Care Compact has only one single requirement for every state: it requires that federal health-care dollars be spent on health care, and only on health care – they cannot be siphoned off to other, non-health-care programs. After that, the citizens of Ohio and their representatives in Columbus will decide how those dollars will be spent to provide the best health care for the citizens of Ohio.”

Under the Interstate Health Care Compact, Ohio would receive annual federal funding that must be spent on health care programs within the state.  Ohio’s allotment would be calculated from a baseline of 2010 federal health care spending in the state, adjusted for changes in population and inflation.

State compacts are governing tools that have been used on a number of occasions to establish agreements between and among states. Mentioned in Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution, compacts are the constitutional instruments that provide authority and flexibility to the states for administering specific programs. Congressional approval is required for states to enter into a legally binding compact.

More than 96 percent of health care is provided and consumed within a state by residents of that state. The Health Care Compact recognizes that since the lions share of health care is locally provided and locally consumed, regulating it at the state level makes more sense than mandating a single set of policies from Washington. Centralized micromanagement of a complex industry serving more than 300 million people won’t work.

“Americans are expected to spend $4 trillion on health care this year,” Retherford said. “Letting one group of bureaucrats manage that in Washington makes no sense. Each state is different — different demographics, different insurance companies, different political perspectives — so a single national solution is madness. The Interstate Health Care Compact allows for uniquely tailored, state-based solutions to health care delivery and affordability problems.

“A one-size-fits-all health care policy handed down from Washington simply does not work.

The Health Care Compact gives states decision-making authority so they can design healthcare programs that meet their unique needs and priorities,” said Shonda Werry, executive director of Competitive Governance Action, the non-profit organization that advocates for interstate compacts.

State Rep. Wes Retherford Introduces State-based alternative to Obamacare

POSTED 4 months ago BY HEALTH CARE COMPACT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday February 17, 2015

Contact: Curtis Ellis 917 861-2233 curtiswellis@gmail.com

 

State Rep. Wes Retherford Introduces State-based alternative to Obamacare

“If you like your Obamacare, you can keep your Obamacare – but you don’t have to”

 

COLUMBUS — If Ohio likes its Obamacare, it can keep its Obamacare – but it won’t have to if a group of state lawmakers have their way. State Representative Wes Retherford (Hamilton -House District 51) and Representative Terry Boose (Norwalk – House District 57) have introduced legislation that would give Ohio greater control over federal health care programs. It’s called the Health Care Compact and it would allow Columbus to regulate health care and provide an alternative to Obamacare.

“We’ve begun to see with Obamacare and the Veterans Administration debacles that a centralized health care system run out of Washington is destined to fail.  States should be free to come up with the approach that best reflects the needs and wants of its citizens.  By transferring decision-making authority, responsibility and control of federal health care funding from Washington DC to Columbus, the Health Care Compact gives Ohio the option to choose a different health insurance system than Obamacare, one that actually works to meet our families’ needs,” says Rep. Wes Retherford.

"The Health Care Compact will shield Ohio citizens and businesses from the burdensome regulations of Obamacare, and protect our seniors from the $700 billion dollars that Obamacare cuts from Medicare to pay for Medicaid expansion and insurance subsidies," says Rep. Wes Retherford.

The move to give states more say-so over health care policy is gaining momentum. The Health Care Compact has been approved by nine states - Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Kansas and Utah.

“Under the Healthcare Compact we won’t have a national program. Some states could implement a single-payer system, while others push more market-oriented mechanisms.  Others could choose to remain in the federal program,” Rep. Wetherford says.  “The Health Care Compact has only one single requirement for every state: it requires that federal health-care dollars be spent on health care, and only on health care – they cannot be siphoned off to other, non-health-care programs. After that, the citizens of Ohio and their representatives in Columbus will decide how those dollars will be spent to provide the best health care for the citizens of Ohio.”

Under the Interstate Health Care Compact, Ohio would receive annual federal funding that must be spent on health care programs within the state.  Ohio’s allotment would be calculated from a baseline of 2010 federal health care spending in the state, adjusted for changes in population and inflation.

State compacts are governing tools that have been used on a number of occasions to establish agreements between and among states. Mentioned in Article 1, Section 10 of the Constitution, compacts are the constitutional instruments that provide authority and flexibility to the states for administering specific programs. Congressional approval is required for states to enter into a legally binding compact.

Over 96% of health care is provided and consumed within a state by residents of that state. The Health Care Compact recognizes that since the lions share of health care is locally provided and locally consumed, regulating it at the state level makes more sense than mandating a single set of policies from Washington. Centralized micromanagement of a complex industry serving more than 300 million people won’t work.

“Americans are expected to spend $4 trillion on health care this year.  Letting one group of bureaucrats manage that in Washington makes no sense. Each state is different –different demographics, different insurance companies, different political perspectives – so a single national solution is madness,” says Rep. Wes Retherford. “The Interstate Health Care Compact allows for uniquely tailored, state-based solutions to health care delivery and affordability problems.”

"A one-size-fits-all health care policy handed down from Washington simply does not work. The Health Care Compact gives states decision-making authority so they can design healthcare programs that meet their unique needs and priorities," says Shonda Werry, Executive Director of Competitive Governance Action, the non-profit organization that advocates for interstate compacts.

The Health Care Compact was developed to offer Americans more influence over decisions that govern health care. The Health Care Compact is a project of Competitive Governance Action, a 501(C)(4) organization committed to educating and advocating for the concept that problems should be solved by the smallest, least centralized, most local authority that may effectively address the matter. Central to the concept is the devolution of political power from the federal government to state and local governments, to individuals and to non-government community and religious institutions.

 

 

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