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Compact waste: HB 1560 is frivolous

January 23. 2012 6:32PM

While the Senate prepares to debate a bill (SB 150) that would make a serious stab at improving our health insurance options in New Hampshire, the House holds a public hearing today on a bill that has pretensions of doing the same, but which suffers from delusions of grandeur.

House Bill 1560 is a strange, convoluted attempt to relieve New Hampshire of the burdens imposed by federal health care dictates. The bill would establish the foundation for a multi-state health care compact. The compact's rules would allow all member states to 'suspend by legislation the operation of all federal laws, rules, regulations, and orders regarding health care that are inconsistent with the laws and regulations adopted by the member state pursuant to this compact' so the states can regulate health care as they see fit.

There are only two, teeny problems. First, Article 1, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution forbids states from entering into compacts without the consent of Congress. HB 1560 thereby requests that Congress allow the creation of this compact. Second, Article 6 states that federal laws are the supreme law of the land. HB 1560 has no answer for that one.

Then the coup de grace: HB 1560 declares that states in the compact have a 'right' to direct payments 'funded by Congress as mandatory spending' to implement, presumably, their own health care laws. The idea that Congress would approve a multi-state compact that lets states ignore federal laws but keep all money intended to implement those laws is preposterous. This bill is a frivolity upon which legislators should not waste their time.

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