Health Care Compact Moves in the State House

Tennessee Republicans foresee a day when federal health care programs go broke. So they’re backing a proposal under which the state could take over such programs.
A bill described as the “healthcare compact” passed a House subcommittee Tuesday.

Representative Mark White of Memphis says it’s a straightforward offer for Tennessee to join with other states to file a big request to the federal government. When it’s health care programs become too expensive to run from Washington, the states will ask for the money and run their own programs.

“It will allow us to draw all the money the federal government will give us anyway Just draw it down in a big grant, a big block And then we figure it’s right around twenty-two billion dollars we would just take that money and design our own health care program.”

The idea is similar to one coming out of Washington to save trillions of dollars. In a budget proposal put forward by Republicans Tuesday, block grants are used to cut costs and give states more autonomy in running their Medicaid programs.

As for the state legislation, Tennessee Democrats oppose the health care compact, calling it an attack on President Obama’s health care reform. The bill now goes to the House Health Committee.

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The bill is HB 369 White/SB 326 Beavers, health care compact.

In the Senate, the bill has been amended and sent to the Senate Finance Committee.

The same amendment (identical to Senate wording) was added in the House subcommittee.

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