Health Care Compact Dead for the Year

The much-debated Health Care Compact bill, which envisions Tennessee state government taking over federal Medicare and Medicaid programs, was quietly shelved for the year today in a state House Committee.
“It’s just going to have to wait until next year,” said Rep. Glen Casada, R-College Grove. “Time has caught us.”
The lead House sponsor of HB369, Rep. Mark White, R-Memphis, was absent Wednesday after the death of his mother, Peggy Ruth White, 82. Casada said that White’s absence and the push to close down legislative committees combined to make shelving the controversial bill for the year prudent.
“It’s just a matter of unfortunate events,” he said.
Casada made the motion to put off further consideration of the measure in the House Health and Human Resources Committee, which adopted the motion on voice vote. The bill had already cleared committees in the Senate and awaited a House vote.
The bill proposes that Tennessee join other states in creating a Health Care Compact, which would take over all federal health care programs and the money to pay for them. It would require congressional approval.
Casada noted that the compact, as envisioned, would not take effect for at least two or three years, so delay on enactment of the bill until next year would not hurt the cause.
Some Republican leaders, including Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, said last week that the compact legislation was not a priority.
McCormick voiced doubt that it would ever become reality, though it was an important symbolic gesture to some lawmakers. The idea also had considerable support among Tennessee tea party members.
“I don’t think it’s a real issue. It’s not going to happen,” McCormick told reporters last week. “Congress is never going to go along with that.”

Leave a Reply