Rep. James Lankford said on Saturday that his bill to allow states to opt-out of Obamacare would let them "make decisions how best to take care of their people."
"The states would say, 'We want the ability to make all the healthcare decisions in our state,'" the Oklahoma Republican told former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on his Fox News program. "Those federal dollars would come to the states.
"The great thing about it is that the states that want to do it, can do it. For other states, if they like their Obamacare, they can keep their Obamacare."
Lankford, 45, a first-term congressman who faces a special election in November to succeed the retiring Sen. Tom Coburn, introduced the Healthcare Compact Act on Wednesday, The Washington Times reports.
The legislation would allow states to design their own healthcare systems
using the federal dollars that are allocated for such programs as the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid.
Eight states support the compact, Lankford told Huckabee. Besides Oklahoma, they are Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, South Carolina, Indiana, Texas, and Utah. Twelve others are considering the legislation, he said.
"It comes back to this simple thing: Who is better to make decisions about the most important things in your life?" Lankford said. "You, your family, local individuals in your hospital — or someone in Washington, D.C.?
"Those states that want to be in the compact and myself, we believe the local leadership and families makes those best decisions," he added. "That's for doctors and patients, not some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C."
He acknowledged that the bill would most likely pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives but would face much difficulty in the Senate, where Democrats hold the majority.
"We want to give that authority back to the states," Lankford said. "The key is to communicate that to the American people — for those individuals to see it — and for the Senate to be able to say, 'This decision needs to be made.'"
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