Tue June 26, 2012
Role of Health Care Compact May Depend on Supreme Court Decision
Utah lawmakers signed a compact this year that allows the state to opt out of federal health care reform and find its own solution to health care funding problems. But Utah’s participation in the interstate compact may hinge on the US Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on the Affordable Care Act.
Republican Senator Stuart Adams sponsored the bill to join the compact, but Adams says the high court’s decision could change things. If the Supreme Court strikes down provisions in the Affordable Care Act requiring that all individuals have health insurance, Adams says the balance of power may change, and the need for a compact may disappear.
“If by chance the individual mandate is found unconstitutional, we step back and say, can the federal government fix this? It may be that as they try to do it, a light will come on and say perhaps we need to get the states involved,” said Adams.
The Health Care Compact allows states to receive federal funding for Medicaid and Medicare through block grants, and administer those funds at their discretion. Utah is one of six states that have signed on, but the Compact can only go into effect if Congress approves it. Adams says, depending on how the Supreme Court rules and who wins the General election, the Compact may serve as a negotiating force for the role of states in healthcare reform.