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Kansas approves state health rights compact

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The Interstate Health Care Compact Alliance — a group for states that say states should have the primary responsibility for regulating non-military health care — is growing.

Kansas recently became the ninth state to join the group when Gov. Sam Brownback signed Kansas House Bill 2553 into law.

Kansas now has agreed to help persuade Congress to approve the group’s organizational document, the Interstate Health Care Compact.

The compact document would give a state the authority to take responsibility for allocating whatever revenue the federal government is spending on health care within that state.

The compact also would give a member state the authority to suspend by legislation the operation of federal health care laws.

Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Utah also have approved the compact. Lawmakers in Ohio and Louisiana have been holding hearings on the compact, the alliance organizers say.

The alliance says it does not solicit or accept donations from any political party, drug company or health insurance company.

Alliance organizers say states should be free to consider a wide range of policy options, including government-run, single-payer systems; systems based mainly on use of health savings accounts or similar personal health accounts; or programs based on use of statewide accountable care organizations.

When Brownback signed H.B. 2553, he said adopting the compact would help protect the solvency of Medicare, by cutting $700 billion in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act spending.

“Obamacare is the most serious attack on Medicare and seniors since the program’s inception,” Brownback said in a statement.

Critics of the compact say Medicare is a federal program.

Alliance officials say putting responsibility for overseeing Medicare in state hands would reduce the influence of big corporations and of interest groups like AARP.

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