Interstate Health Care Compact Laws and ALEC Are Inseparable!

Interstate Health Care Compact Laws and ALEC Are Inseparable!



It’s no secret that the red state cabal will do anything it can to destroy the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare. Not that the states’ elected officials care one wit about the game-changing act of mandating coverage for preexisting conditions and putting a screeching halt to the practice of mammoth insurance companies pulling yearly and lifelong coverage from the chronically ill at a fiscal whim. Believe this, if you believe nothing else. Insurance companies not only devalue human life in favor of their bottom line, a human life (possibly other than their own loved ones and pals) appears to hold NO value whatsoever.

Why these greedy corporate monoliths are even in the coverage game under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a story for another day. Medicare for all should be the rallying cry for every citizen of America.

But for now, let’s consider something that commands almost no media attention. Another front has opening up in the corporate war against ACA. It’s called a Health Care Compact. There’s one that Georgia just signed onto three years ago which includes not only that red state, but a deep multi-state red roster of South Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri, Texas and Utah. So instead of one state flailing against ACA, you have a solid front of 8 states dedicating every waking legislative hour to its demise. Several right-wing Congressmen are currently pushing a bill giving the compacts their blessing.

Let me tell you something folks. There’s got to be some serious coin changing hands here. And I’m not talking about just campaign contributions. I’m talking about brown envelope, under the desk payoffs. Take a DVD peek at the film “American Hustle” (R for language) for further edification. A combined Harvard and City University of New York study puts the number of deaths in South Carolina at over a thousand as a result of not expanding Medicaid. The national estimate doesn’t belong in a civilized country. From the highly researched Health Affairs Blog comes areas of the rejected Medicaid coverage that will be compromised: Depression treatment, diabetes medications, mammograms, pap smears and catastrophic medical expenses among others. At latest count, 25 states don’t care about any of that.

In a November, 2011 press release, an outfit calling themselves the Health Care Compact Alliance revealed the following:

“The Health Care Compact Alliance today announced the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the nation’s largest nonpartisan (ROTFLMAOF) individual membership association of state legislators, has adopted the Health Care Compact as model legislation. This move will make the Health Care Compact vision and language widely available to nearly 2,000 state legislators across the country, and marks ALEC’s support of the initiative to bring the power over health care to the state level.”

ALEC-saturated General Assemblies ate it up. What followed was a knee-jerk rubber stamping of the compact in the aforementioned states. Of course, grateful ALEC legislative members had to do something for their generous mentor from DC that repeatedly wines and dines (and who knows what else) them at some of the resortiest destinations in the country, not to mention more wining and dining (and who knows what else) in their home state capitols. It’s not for nothing that some of these hyper-ambitious Republican (with a handful of Democrats thrown in) state senators and representatives cast their lot with the corporate-owned enabler of some of the most dangerous and counter-productive model-legislation known to man.

“Here is the Health Care Compact’s self-description: 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. The Health Care Compact was developed to offer Americans more influence over decisions that govern health care.”

The Compact’s Executive Director is published in National Review and the Washington Times. End of discussion.

So, in practical terms, what exactly is a Health Care Compact? The eight-state compact of which South Carolina is a member tracked the ALEC model-legislation bill (The Interstate Healthcare Compact) that was first mounted October 13, 2011. The South Carolina bill, was named The Interstate Healthcare Compact, so they didn’t even bother to change the name.

States do slightly alter the language and make a few logistics changes from time to time. Here’s an example from the South Carolina version signed into law, June 7, 2012:

Section 44-10-20. South Carolina wording: The Interstate Healthcare Compact is hereby enacted into law and entered into by this State with any other states legally joining the compact in a form substantially similar to the form contained in this chapter.

ALEC wording: {Insert state} enacts the Interstate Health Care Compact and enters into the compact with all other states legally joining in the compact in substantially the following form:

Often, there are no changes whatsoever. ALEC version: (A) “Commission” means the Interstate Advisory Health Care Commission. South Carolina version: (1) ‘Commission’ means the Interstate Advisory Health Care Commission. Laughably, even when the wording remains unchanged, there always seems to be the tiniest difference. In this case (A) and (1) and “and” around the word commission.

Here’s one more example of identical wording: From the South Carolina bill: ‘Effective date’ means the date upon which this compact shall become effective for purposes of the operation of state and federal law in a member state, which shall be the later of: From the ALEC model-legislation: “Effective date” means the date upon which this compact shall become effective for purposes of the operation of state and federal law in a member state, which shall be the later of:

It’s not only a corporate controlled General Assembly that’s an embarrassment here; it’s the fact that your legislators are on the political take. They’ll swoon for whomever offers the most trinkets.

Here’s a section I really despise. From SC law: Section 44-10-60. Each member state, within its jurisdiction, may enact legislation to suspend the operation of all federal laws, rules, regulations, and orders regarding health care that are inconsistent with the laws, rules, regulations, and orders adopted by the member state pursuant to this compact. Federal and state laws, rules, regulations, and orders regarding health care will remain in effect unless a member state expressly suspends them pursuant to its authority under this compact. For any federal law, rule, regulation, or order that remains in effect in a member state after the effective date, that member state shall be responsible for the associated funding obligations in its State.

The great irony and hypocrisy is that each member state can still scam the feds for a ton of money for health care under which Washington has no control. Kansas just joined the ‘compact’ crowd; eight more states are considering it while four have rejected it. Here comes total chaos. Court actions, individual states; compacts, all with their own set of rules.

Just the outcome the ALEC crowd was aiming for.

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