Press Statement from the office of State Senator Joan Huffman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2011
Contact: Mollie Schall
512-463-0117 or mollie.schall@senate.state.tx.us

HUFFMAN JOINT AUTHORS BILL TAKING THE FIRST STEP TOWARD TEXAS' HEALTH CARE INDEPENDENCE

AUSTIN — State Senator Joan Huffman (R-Southside Place) announced the filing of Senate Bill 25 this week, which would allow Texas to take initial steps towards establishing its right to regulate health care within the state and end federal government oversight of health care related issues in Texas.

SB 25, joint authored by Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) and Senator Huffman, allows Texas to enter into a constitutionally established "interstate compact". Authorized by Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, an interstate compact is a statutorily authorized agreement between two or more states to enter into collaborative contracts as a means to regulate areas of mutual concern, in this case: health care.

"This is an important first step for Texas to eventually run our own health and human services programs," said Huffman. "The passage of this legislation would pave the way for states to establish the most appropriate system within their own borders."

Upon passage by the Legislature, Texas would be authorized to work with other states that adopt similar legislation, to send the proposals contained in the bill to Congress for Congressional approval. Should Congress consent to the proposal, the compact would supersede any federal laws, rules or regulations that contradict Texas' laws governing health care. The compact would vest the primary responsibility to regulate health care with each individual state's Legislature, which would individually decide what is best for their respective citizens.

"The compact, pending Congressional consent, would enable our state to run our health and human services programs and provides the funds that would fulfill that responsibility," said Huffman. "Texas simply cannot afford Medicaid's current structure and rate of growth. I am proud to lend my support to this innovative approach to reforming our state's Medicaid program."

Senate District 17 encompasses all or part of 34 cities and 29 school districts in Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris and Jefferson counties. Senator Huffman currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Criminal Justice Committee. She is also a member of State Affairs, Senate Redistricting, Jurisprudence, Higher Education and Health and Human Services Committees, as well as the Sunset Advisory Commission. Senator Huffman and her family reside in Southside Place.

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