Posted by: Debby Durkee | December 27, 2010

Can state compacts nullify Obamacare?

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Can state compacts nullify Obamacare?

The formation of state compacts is one more tool in the American people’s toolbox to fight Obamacare and perhaps other issues as Obama and his administration attempt to grab more power from the people and the states. This is from Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard.

The vehemence of the opposition to President Obama’s overhaul of health care has spawned an assortment of strategies for killing it. The newest and most ambitious would create a health care compact among the states and use it to switch control of health care programs from the federal government to the states. Snip —

Barnes said a health care compact would do more to nullify Obamacare than lawsuits and individual actions by governors or hopes that the Supreme Court would rule it unconstitutional.

…If successful—a very big “if”—it would reduce the scope of Washington’s power. States, not Congress, the White House, or federal bureaucrats, would set the rules for health care from top to bottom, from Medicare and Medicaid to individual insurance policies.

…(The group of conservative activists leading the compact drive) want to use compacts to return other areas of federal control—the environment, drug and medical device regulation, education, to name three possibilities—to the states or even local governments.

Interstate compacts aren’t a wild idea. They just haven’t been tapped for such a political purpose before. The authority for compacts was established in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 10), and more than 200 have been set up. One example: the agreement uniting Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to build and operate the Washington area’s Metro subway system.

An issue of interest to two or more states can lead to a compact. It works this way: State legislatures approve a proposal, the states agree on the parts of mutual concern (such as buying insurance across state lines), then the compact is dispatched to Washington for ratification by Congress and the president (though the need for White House assent isn’t spelled out in the Constitution). Ratification turns the compact into federal law.

However, there’s a bigger reason for forming a compact against Obamacare. By banding together, states would have far more political clout in Washington. Backers of the health care compact figure they need more than 20 states to pressure Washington to go along. Their assumption is members of Congress (even Democrats who support Obamacare) would be inclined to vote for a formal request from their home state. Members who oppose Obama-care would vote for it as well.

The compact strategy grew out of talks last summer among a handful of conservatives worried about the growth in federal power, particularly under President Obama…

In October, Eric O’Keefe of the Sam Adams Alliance broached the compact strategy with the leaders of Tea Party Patriots, Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin…

The national council of the Tea Party Patriots listened to the explanation of the compact strategy and 37 signed up to be coordinators in their states to attempt legislative approval.

The campaign for the compact begins early next month when many state legislatures convene. Texas and Nebraska are among the target states…

…what attracted conservative organizers like O’Keefe and Tea Partiers is how broadly the compact strategy can be used to shrink the power of the federal government. It’s an “unused lever point” with enormous potential, O’Keefe says.

They all acknowledge that this will be a difficult process, but they have decided that they want the fight because it will keep Obamacare and the issue of Obama’s and the Democrats’ overreach front and center over the next couple of years. They aren’t just thinking short term. The country can’t take a second Obama administration. Read it all here:


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