Missouri becomes third health care compact state, joining Oklahoma and Georgia

Advocates of state Health Care Compacts on Thursday (July 14) celebrated passage in Missouri, the third American state to enact the governance reform in recent months. Oklahoma was the second, while Georgia was the first.

In an interview with CapitolBeatOK, Eric O’Keefe of the Health Care Compact Alliance said the measure was gratifying to him and other advocates seeking to provide an alternative to the federal health care law passed last year.

However, he stressed the drive was more about self-governance for the states and self-control for Americans than merely “an ambitious approach to get out from under the stranglehold of ‘ObamaCare.’ This approach switches to the people in the states control over their own destinies. As an important additional benefit, it provides relief from the pending fiscal disaster that is the new federal health care law.” 

O’Keefe also said, “Today, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon joined the Missouri legislature in taking a bold step to give the people of Missouri control of their health care future. By acting to move authority and responsibility for health care from Washington, D.C. to Missouri, Gov. Nixon is taking the decision making power about health care out of the hands of Washington special interests and putting it back in the hands of the people of Missouri. 

“The Health Care Compact Alliance thanks Gov. Nixon as well as all of the sponsoring legislators for championing health care reform.” 

Gov. Nixon, in comments sent to CapitolBeatOK, said, “Every Missourian should have access to quality, affordable medical care, and it’s vital that every health-care dollar is spent wisely. House Bill 423, which passed with bipartisan support, reflects the shared principle of greater flexibility for Missouri. But such flexibility can’t be at the expense of limiting access to health care funding for Missourians.”

The Missouri law, sponsored by Eric Burlison (House District 136), establishes the legal framework for the “Show Me” State to join the national push to create state-based health care policies. The force of an interstate compact is intended to prevail over prior federal law. 

O’Keefe said he remains hopeful for favorable action in two more states shortly. In Texas, he is confident Governor Rick Perry will sign the measure; in Montana O’Keefe believes legislative override of a gubernatorial veto is within reach. 

In his comments to CapitolBeatOK, O’Keefe returned often to themes of liberty and efforts to “repair self-governance. This is a political reform to re-empower states in an area the federal government should never have gotten into.”

O’Keefe concluded his reflections by saying, “There’s a race on in America. In Washington, D.C., there is a bipartisan elite that is leading the nation to financial disaster. But outside of Washington, there are state leaders and people taking steps to save the country.”

O’Keefe’s group has pressed for the Health Care Compact in an historical and constitutional context. 

As he has explained, “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.”
Editor’s Note: Detailed stories about the health care compact can be found here and here in the CapitolBeatOK archives.