Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Compact Fizzling?

Carrying on Bob's fizzling metaphor from this morning, we have a follow-up to our post on the efforts of the Ohio Health Care Compact (OHCC) folks to get some traction. Briefly, the HCC initiative would supercede ObamneyCare©, and put Buckeyes' health care decisions back in our control. I reached out to OHHC for additional information, and have finally received their reply.

Dianna Greenwood, the group's Outreach Coordinator, tells me that "unfortunately due to some issues, our committee will not be working on the Health Care Compact in Ohio. However, we all believe that this is still important legislation pending in the Ohio Senate and wanted to make sure that you received our answers."

So she in turn passed us along to Tea Party Patriots' State Coordinator Marianne Gasecki, who answered most of our questions:

InsureBlog: Let's start with a little background. How did this effort begin, who came up with the idea of using state compacts?

Marianne Gasecki: The Health Care Compact Alliance presented this idea at a Tea Party Patriots Conference of local coordinators in February of 2011. After a period of discussion, it was voted on by the coordinators and considered to be an exciting opportunity with great promise for not just healthcare, but other issues.

IB: Who funds this effort?

MG: To date, any efforts in Ohio have been minimal in cost due to the fact that it is mostly presentations at local tea party groups or other organizations, or meetings with legislators. Any costs have been covered by the individuals on the Ohio Health Care Compact Committee. Any efforts performed nationally, are most likely funded by the Health Care Compact Alliance.

[ed: I'll be contacting the Alliance folks ASAP]

IB: In the video, it's never clear which states we'd be joining in a compact. Texas is implied, and you mention "teams on the ground in 37 states," yet they've been passed into law in only 4. It's already 2012, with less than two years to go until full implementation. Aren't you concerned about timing?

MG: No. We know and understand that this is a long term project and are willing to go the distance. States such as Indiana will be added to the list shortly, as it has already cleared the house and is advancing quickly through their Senate. This is also an excellent tool to be used when questioning candidates regarding their sincerity in the belief of state sovereignty vs. a one size fits all centralized government.

IB: I also have some questions from my co-bloggers. Bob would like to know if there's enough money to meet federal requirements and address other financial obligations.

MG: Once the compact is ratified it supersedes federal law, and therefore federal requirements and obligations. Funds collected from the states by the federal government would be returned to the states with no strings attached. What needs to be reiterated is that these compacts are not policy making contracts. The compacts are just giving the states the authority to create policy that best suits the needs of their state. They can change nothing, or can change everything.

IB: Bob also points out that your FAQ states "The member states get funding according to the formula in the HCC." How does that work?

MG: The best explanation is that the amount for each state represents the total amount of money the federal government returned to that state in 2010. It includes ALL health care spending, minus the spending for veterans or for Native American Indians. That figure includes all grants, all appropriations, all Medicare spending, all Medicaid spending that the federal government sends to a state. 2010 is the base funding for each state moving forward with the HCC which, for Ohio, was about $35 billion.

IB: Finally, Mike observes that "the FAQ references "sale of insurance across state lines." He agrees with me that this is a deflection, not an answer. So: "why would the Compact make any difference?" In short, while it's a very nice video, neither it nor the FAQ explicitly lay out the end-game, other than "we opt out of ObamaCare." Yet you claim that "health care [is] in need of urgent reform." How do you square that circle?

MG: I think most people agree that layers of bureaucracy make everything more expensive and less efficient, whether it be in the private sector or government. But the compact is really about self governance. If you believe the states should have the opportunity to provide a more cost effective health care system rather than a one-size-fits-all federal program, then the compact idea for health care, as well as other issues, will look very promising to you. Again, it's not a policy document, as much as it is a document to give authority back to the states, bringing it closer to the people it directly affects.

Thanks, Marianne, for your time and candor.

And we'll be following up with the national Health Care Compact organization, as well.
blog comments powered by Disqus