Katie Kerwin McCrimmon at the Health Policy Solutions blog reports:
lawmakers are trying to halt the federal law through a legislative maneuver while Democrats are working to set up a new statewide health exchange.
HB 11-1273 would allow Colorado to opt out of the Affordable Care Act by creating an agreement among states, called an interstate compact, which would then supersede the federal law.
Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, is sponsoring the HOPE Act in the Senate and compares the proposal to the Colorado River Compact which regulates water in western states. Compacts must be approved by Congress, but do not need support from the president.
“The U.S. Constitution allows Colorado and other states to form interstate compacts which, once approved by Congress, gives them complete regulatory authority outside federal law,” Kopp said.
Read the whole article: Colorado Republicans try to halt health law with ‘HOPE Act’.
John Graham at the supports pursuing an interstate compact:
Rather than wasting scarce legislative time trying to find the least harmful way of “implementing” Obamacare*, state politicians should invest in reforms that will survive long after Obamacare is relegated to history’s dustbin. Including health insurance in an interstate compact would be such a reform.
Yet, this is not an easy path. Graham writes:
an effective interstate compact for health insurance faces a couple of obstacles. First, while there are examples of compacts passed without explicit Congressional approval, none is established deliberately to provoke a hostile response from the federal government. …
A second obstacle could arise from the complexity of building a new compact for a single line of insurance from scratch. …
This second obstacle might be overcome by adding health insurance to the interstate compact that already exists for other lines of insurance: The Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission (IIPRC). …
The advantages of enlarging this compact to include health insurance are easily enumerated. First, it exists. The IIPRC enjoys solidly written legislative language; and committees for audit, finance, product standards, rulemaking, and other critical responsibilities for a successful compact. … Second, all of this information is freely available at its website, … www.insurancecompact.org. …
[S]tate legislators and other interested parties can quickly educate themselves by contacting officials employed by the compact who can assist and advise. Third, to the degree that the IIPRC would be unable to enlarge itself to accommodate health insurance, this would serve further to expose the absurdity of federal laws governing health insurance. Such exposure would increase popular demand for health reform that reduces, rather than increases, federal power.
Read Graham’s whole article on An Interstate Compact for Health Insurance.
* One if these least harmful methods would be a health insurance exchange, which is vulnerable to federal control since those enrolled would have federally-subsidized premiums. Maybe an exchange could work as Rep. Amy Stephens claims, though I suspect that with health reimbursement accounts, a more private entity like eHealthInsurance.com could serve a similar role.