Huelskamp: Big government Republicans could stymie health-care compact

LOCAL CONTROL: Last week, Gov. Sam Brownback signed HB 2553 to make Kansas the ninth state to join the interstate Health Care Compact. The agreement is designed to return control of health care regulations to the states.

By Travis Perry │ Kansas Watchdog

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — Even with a political flip in the U.S. Senate, passage of the interstate Health Care Compact wouldn’t be a sure thing, said Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp.

The Fowler Republican representing “The Big First” district in the Sunflower State is a major proponent of the agreement that would exempt participating states — last week Kansas became the ninth — from federal health-care regulations and return control to the state level.

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp

But crucial to the plan’s success is congressional approval. The U.S. House and Senate have the authority to approve compacts between states; Huelskamp estimated 200 such agreements are now in effect.

It could happen as soon as next year, he said, unless it’s blocked by factions within the GOP.

“There’s plenty of big-government Republicans that could be a problem,” Huelskamp told Kansas Watchdog, noting that there are some senators who want to push debate on the matter off until after November. “They do not want to debate issues of consequence until after the election.”

“Will John McCain let us make a decision? I don’t know.”

Last week, Kansas third district Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo told the Wichita Eagle he supports legislation that “returns power to the states to come up with viable solutions to the health care system that Obamacare has made worse.”

U.S. Reps. Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder, as well as Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts, did not return calls for comment from Kansas Watchdog.

The actual nuts-and-bolts of the compact, and what it would mean for folks on the ground, is still up in the air. As it stands, the Health Care Compact lays the groundwork for states to join and be granted congressional authority to supersede federal health-care laws.

Other states to join the compact so far include Utah, Missouri, Indiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

Contact Travis Perry at travis@kansaswatchdog.org, or follow him on Twitter at @muckraker62. Like Watchdog.org? Click HERE to get breaking news alerts in YOUR state!

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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