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ALEC adopts Health Care Compact as model legislation

Alexandria, Va. (Nov. 30, 2011) – The Health Care Compact Alliance today announced the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the nation’s largest nonpartisan 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.

The Health Care Compact is an initiative of the Health Care Compact Alliance, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to providing Americans more influence over decisions that govern their health care. The Health Care Compact is an agreement between participating states that restores authority and responsibility for health care regulation to member states. The Health Care Compact does not make suggestions on what policies individual states should pursue, but advocates that health care policy should be decided at the state level.

“States, not the federal government, are in the best position to implement market-driven and patient-centered health care reform,” said Christie Herrera, director of the Health and Human Services Task Force of ALEC. “The Health Care Compact Act adds to ALEC's powerful list of tools legislators can use to push back against the unprecedented federal health care law.”

ALEC adopts model legislation that is consistent with their mission and reflects their policy. The Health Care Compact bill was first submitted to and approved by members of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force. After the Task Force approval, the bill was sent to ALEC's Board of Directors for final approval. Upon final approval by the board, the bill became official ALEC model legislation.

“ALEC is such a highly regarded and trusted organization among state legislators, and we are excited to have its support for the Health Care Compact,” said Leo Linbeck III, Vice Chairman of the Health Care Compact Alliance. “We hope that legislators across the United States will utilize this model legislation to address the pressing health care issues in their states.”

The concept of using interstate compacts to return sovereignty to the states was originally developed by the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a non-profit, free-market research institute. TPPF was integral in shepherding the Health Care Compact through the ALEC model legislation process.

“Interstate compacts are highly effective in shielding against federal overreach,” said Arlene Wohlgemuth, executive director of the TPPF. “The Health Care Compact is a strong solution to many of our country’s health care problems, particularly managing Medicaid on a state level.”

The Health Care Compact has been introduced in 13 states since February 2011 and has already been adopted in Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma and Missouri. In addition, citizen groups and state legislators in more than 20 states are actively considering the Health Care Compact.

Under the Health Care Compact, each state receives annual funding from the federal government for health care. The funding is mandatory spending for the federal government and is not subject to annual appropriations. Funding for each state is calculated from a baseline of 2010 health care spending, adjusted for changes in population and inflation.

For the Health Care Compact to become law, it must be passed by both houses of a general assembly or legislature, signed by the governor and approved by Congress. Health care policy in a member state is not prescribed in the compact. Policy is determined by each individual state after the compact is ratified.

Interstate compacts have been used throughout U.S. history to allow states to coordinate in important policy areas. Authority for compacts was established in the Constitution (Article I, Section 10), and more than 200 such agreements are currently in effect. They are voluntary agreements between states that, when consented to by Congress, have the force of federal law.

The Health Care Compact Alliance is a nonpartisan [501(c)4] organization providing tools that enable citizens to exert greater control over their government. The Health Care Compact was developed to offer Americans more influence over decisions that govern health care.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the nation’s largest nonpartisan individual membership association of state legislators, with nearly 2,000 state legislators across the nation and more than 100 alumni members in Congress. ALEC’s mission is to promote free markets, individual liberty and federalism in the states.

The Honorable Arlene Wohlgemuth is the Executive Director and Director of the Center for Health Care Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin. She served 10 years in the Texas House of Representatives, specializing in health care issues.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.

Primary website: www.TexasPolicy.com Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/TexasPublicPolicyFoundation Twitter feed: www.Twitter.com/TPPF

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