Oklahoma responses to ObamaCare ruling
My inbox is filling with responses from Oklahoma officials and policy influencers to the ObamaCare ruling.
From the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs:
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the vast majority of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reemphasizes the need for action at the ballot box and the need for Oklahoma policymakers to protect patients and taxpayers from the law's harmful side effects, according to researchers at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA). "While it is difficult not to be disappointed by the Court's decision," says law professor Andrew Spiropoulos, OCPA's Milton Friedman Distinguished Fellow, "there is a silver lining to the black cloud of state intrusion that hangs over us. The fate of the President's scheme and our liberty now rest where they should -- in our own hands and ballots. No constitution or court can save us if we are unwilling to save ourselves." "Now that the Court has upheld key parts of this unaffordable, irresponsible, and wasteful law, it is more important than ever for Oklahoma's political leaders to advance state-led and patient-centered reforms that help the poor, the sick, and the taxpayers," adds Jonathan Small, fiscal policy director at OCPA. Mr. Small, who formerly served as director of government affairs for Commissioner Kim Holland at the Oklahoma Insurance Department, says state policymakers must advance genuine reform. Specifically:
- Oklahoma lawmakers should move immediately to limit spending and should not expand the state's budget-busting Medicaid program (expansion is allowed by ACA but not required).
- Lawmakers should stop raiding the InsureOklahoma program (to the tune of more than $120 million to date) and instead should shift the emphasis in Medicaid toward getting participants onto private health insurance. "We need to empower people to escape from the Medicaid ghetto," says Mr. Small, "and give them the dignity of having their own health insurance."
- Lawmakers and the private sector must build state-based firewalls -- such as a state-based, almost exclusively private-sector-operated insurance marketplace -- to minimize the intrusion of the federal government into the insurance market in Oklahoma.
- Given the penalties for employers not providing coverage -- which are more desirable than the mandate-heavy high-cost ACA plans -- state lawmakers should plan to cease offering state-employee health coverage if ACA is not repealed. The penalty for not providing the coverage will be significantly less than continuing the state's current high-cost plans.
- Policymakers should encourage transparency in medical pricing, of the sort practiced by the Surgery Center of Oklahoma.
- Policymakers should equalize the tax treatment of individually purchased insurance and employer-provided insurance.
"I can attest firsthand that when politicians in Washington try to take over health care, the side effects are painful," says Mr. Small [see video below]. "This new middle-class tax increase -- possibly the largest in American history -- will only serve to do more harm to families."
From John Hart, spokesman for Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn:
Dr. Coburn will be reviewing the ruling and will respond with an updated plan to repeal and replace this unworkable law. The Court affirmed Congress' power to tax people if they don't eat their broccoli. Now it's up to the American people to decide whether they will tolerate this obscene abuse of individual liberty.
Hart reminds that in 2009 Coburn authored a conservative alternative health care reform law, the Patients' Choice Act, with Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).
From 1st District Congressman John Sullivan:
I strongly disagree with the courts decision to uphold the individual mandate - I fear this ruling will forever change the relationship between the federal government and the people in this country.
Nowhere in the U.S. constitution is Congress given the power to force Americans to purchase a good or a service or to enter into a contract. By signing Obamacare into law, the President and Democrat leaders told the American people they don't have a right to choose what health insurance plan best meets their needs - I strongly disagree. Regardless of the Supreme Courts ruling, Obamacare is still a bad law and must be repealed - it is hurting our economy, spending trillions of dollars we don't have to spend, killing American jobs and putting the federal government between doctors and their patients. I will continue fighting to repeal the law in Congress, however I am also confident the American people will vote to repeal this law at the ballot box in November by making Barack Obama a one term President.
From Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin:
Oklahomans have voiced their opposition to the federal health care bill from the very beginning, having approved a constitutional amendment to block the implementation of this bill in our state. We believe that, rather than Big Government bureaucracy and one-size-fits-all solutions, the free-market principles of choice and competition are the best tools at our disposal to increase access to health care and reduce costs.
I'm extremely disappointed and frustrated by the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the federal health care law. President Obama's health care policies will limit patients' health care choices, reduce the quality of health care in the United States, and will cost the state of Oklahoma more than a half billion dollars in the process.
Today's decision highlights the importance of electing leaders who will work to repeal the federal health care law and replace it with meaningful reform focused on commonsense, market based changes.
From State Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee), candidate for Congress:
"I am extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court's ruling on ObamaCare, but as I did before in Oklahoma City I am ready to fight again in Washington for our precious freedoms. This ruling allows another huge expansion of federal bureaucracy and intrusion into the lives of individuals. The Court this morning in essence gave the American people two choices: either get used to health control and rationing as the huge federal bureaucracy chokes off our liberties, or completely repeal this outrageous overreach that has already spawned 18,000 pages of new job-killing federal regulations. Repeal can only be accomplished by electing proven conservatives who have demonstrated that they understand the issues and will take the fight to preserve our liberties to Washington.
"The people of Oklahoma spoke loud and clear in 2010 that they did not want ObamaCare in Oklahoma. I took their voice and their fight to the state capital and stopped it in its tracks, when others wanted to give in and take federal money to start implementing ObamaCare. I understand the issues and recognize the assault on our freedom that this represents.
"Send me to Washington D.C. and I will not rest until ObamaCare is repealed and our liberty is restored. What the Supreme Court failed to do for the country today by declaring this law unconstitutional, I will work alongside other conservatives in Congress to accomplish legislatively--its complete repeal--beginning on my first day as a representative of the people of Oklahoma in Congress."
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