Louisiana would join an interstate compact aimed at giving states authority over health care policy under a bill that advanced out of a House committee Wednesday.
The national effort is being led by opponents of the federal Affordable Health Care Act who are taking a different approach to escape its provisions. Eleven states have either approved participation or passed legislation signaling support of the movement, including Texas and Alabama.
The movement is considered more of an expression of sentiment against the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Critics say the chances of the compact getting required congressional approval are unlikely.
Numerous efforts by Republican congressmen to repeal the ACA have failed. On top of that, Congress has never granted permission for states to form one to shield them from federal law.
“Health care decisions should be made in states,” said state Rep. Paul Hollis, R-Covington, sponsor of House Bill 1090 .
He said the failings of the federal health care revamp is proof of that with some people paying higher rates for insurance coverage while others are losing insurance and access to their providers.
The House Health and Welfare Committee approved the measure on a 7-5 vote and shipped it to the House floor for debate.
The initiative is rooted in the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which leaves to the states all powers not conferred upon the federal government.
“Health care policy is too large and complex to manage at the federal level,” said Dan Tripp, a former South Carolina legislator who is a compact advocate.
“One size fits all does not serve your constituents,” he added.
State Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, said the legislation is fraught with problems, including uncertainties about the allotment of Louisiana’s federal funds for health care funding.
“There are so many ifs in this bill,” said Jackson.
HB1090 was one of a package of Hollis bills scheduled for committee hearing Wednesday dealing with the ACA. It was the only one that got a vote as the committee lost the quorum necessary to operate.
Still pending a committee vote are House Concurrent Resolution 38 which would encourage congress to institute a three year national moratorium on implementing the federal health care revamp and House Bill 889 which would establish a Louisiana Healthcare Independence Fund to educate residents on alternatives for opting out of the federal law.