Philosophy of Health Care Compact

January 8, 2012 by  

Last session the AZ Legislature overwhelmingly passed (and the Governor vetoed) the Health Care Compact which will, when approved by Congress, return governance of health care to the states – where it rightfully belongs – not in Washington.  States in the compact would each have the authority to say “yay” or “nay” to Federal health care regulations that are harmful or don’t serve their citizens well – including Obamacare.

Six states have passed the HCC and more are advancing HCC legislation each year.  Arizona for the second time.

Why a Compact Now? The below is reprinted from the Health Care Compact Facebook post of December 16, 2010. It’s a great piece:

“Our political problems are structural, not personal. Simply changing our representatives won’t fix them; we need to change the incentives and power relationships embedded in our political institutions. This is structural political change – the kind of change that alters those incentives and power relationships. And that sort of change requires new policy approaches, new policy ideas.  Ideas like the Health Care Compact [emphasis mine].

But having a great new policy idea is one thing; getting it enacted into law is quite another. So what is the strategy for passing the Health Care Compact?

It is important to understand that the passage of groundbreaking legislation like the Health Care Compact cannot rely upon a legal strategy. Of course, the law is critically important to our nation – we are, after all, a nation of laws, beginning with the Constitution.

However, it is also true that great changes in the political power structure do not result from the passage of laws; rather, laws codify a political consensus that has already been reached by the citizenry. If you think back upon the monumental changes in our law (especially constitutional amendments), you will realize that political conflict occurred first, the battle was won by one side of the conflict, and then laws were passed by the winners to solidify their political gains.

  • The Constitution did not create independence for the American people. Rather, the Revolutionary War was won, and the Constitution was passed to define how our new nation would operate. However, the Bill of Rights was needed because the Constitution was not sufficiently well-defined in a number of critical areas, and therefore could not win ratification. In other words, the Constitution did not reflect the political consensus of the states and the people, so they demanded amendments as a price for their support.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment did not free the slaves. Rather, a Civil War was fought, and the winning side freed the slaves.
  • The 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th Amendments did not create the Progressive Movement. Rather, the Progressive Movement called for a more powerful federal government and a more inclusive franchise, and those Amendments codified the new power structure.
  • The 24th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act did not create the Civil Rights Movement. Rather, the Civil Rights Movement changed the hearts and minds of enough of the citizens to create a new consensus around the proper treatment of minorities under the law.

In each case, when monumental shifts occurred in our governance system, they were the result of political movements driven from the bottom up [emphasis mine]. Then, once the shift occurred, the law was changed to reflect the changed views of the citizenry.

In short, when attempting fundamental restructuring of the balance of power in our system, politics drives the law, not vice-versa. This simple fact is why using legal maneuvers alone will ultimately fail.  Legal change is driven top-down, by legislators and judges.  Political change is driven bottom-up, by the citizenry [emphasis mine].

Because of this, the Health Care Compact – which represents a shift of regulatory responsibility for 1/6th of the economy from the federal government to the states – will only be enacted if the citizens organize themselves into an irresistible political force.

How to do this is the subject of another note in this series, Political Power and Primary Elections.”

Arizona led the nation by ensuring Health Care Freedom for its citizens – 14 states have subsequently passed Health Care Freedom laws – and four more will vote on ballot measures in November 2012.

Let’s hope Arizonans can realize true health care freedom by passing the Health Care Compact movement, as well.

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