COLUMBUS—During today’s session, the Ohio House of Representatives passed legislation that, with approval from Congress, would give Ohio more freedom and flexibility over its healthcare policies.
House Bill 34, sponsored by Reps. Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) and Terry Boose (R-Norwalk), ratifies the Health Care Compact., through which Ohio would enter a multi-state contract that would secure more rights to the states for healthcare policy decisions. The measure is a response to rising costs and deficits, as well as the increased federal overreach into health care. If signed into law by Governor Kasich and approved by the US Congress, the Compact allows Ohio to suspend the operation of all federal laws and regulations that are inconsistent with Ohio laws adopted through the Compact. Should Congress approve the Compact, however, it would still be up to the state legislature whether to change Ohio’s healthcare policy, as well as what those specific changes would be.
“This bill is a great first step to get healthcare decisions back in the hands of state government, and we will continue to work to make sure Ohioans will have control over their healthcare decisions,” Boose said.
Under the legislation, Ohio would receive federal funding to support health coverage each fiscal year. The amount of funding would be determined based on the estimated level of federal funding used for health care, which would be updated periodically based on population and inflation.
“For years, we have heard the complaints about the ACA,” Retherford said. “We have also seen attempt after attempt to repeal the ACA, but with no back up plan. Ohio, along with several other states, has taken the lead on finding a suitable replacement to the Federal control of our healthcare system. By returning these dollars to the states, we can start working on state-by-state reform that will best serve our constituents. I want to thank my colleagues in supporting my efforts to find a solution to our healthcare crisis. Ohioans are demanding actions, not just words, and today the Ohio House took that step.”
The Health Care Compact included a set of core principles, inspired by the goals of personal freedom and federalism. The principles include:
- The separation of powers, both between the branches of the federal government and between federal and state authority, is essential to the preservation of individual liberty
- The Constitution creates a federal government of limited and enumerated powers, and reserves to the states or to the people those powers not granted to the federal government
- The member states seek to protect individual liberty and personal control over healthcare decisions, and believe the best method to achieve these ends is by vesting regulatory authority over health care in the states
House Bill 34 now goes to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.