Texas Tribune, June 16, 2011
State House lawmakers gave early approval today to a bill designed to let Texas take control of Medicaid and Medicare from the federal government after a high-decibel argument between the measure's Republican author and Democratic lawmakers. Rep. Lois Kolkhorst's HB 5, which died on the clock during the regular session, would allow Texas to join with other states in a so-called "health care compact," in which state leaders would ask Congress to grant them control of the purse strings and authority to operate Medicare and Medicaid. Already, Georgia and Oklahoma have passed similar legislation —though such a compact would likely face an uphill battle in Washington. "Innovation can lower our costs," said Kolkhorst, who has argued that the spiraling costs of both programs are unsustainable.