The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

January 25, 2013

Oklahoma AG challenges federal health care claims

OKLAHOMA CITY — The nation's health care law does not authorize the Internal Revenue Service to adopt a rule that the federal government claims is needed to implement the statute, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt argued Friday.

Pruitt made the arguments as part of his ongoing lawsuit challenging the Affordable Health Care Act and its requirement that all Americans purchase health care insurance. Lawyers for the federal government have asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.

Pruitt's main argument centers on health insurance exchanges. A key component of the law, the exchanges will be like online marketplaces allowing people to compare health insurance and buy policies. States were told they could create their own exchanges or defer to a federally created program.

Pruitt argues that the IRS created a rule that allows it to levy millions of dollars in tax penalties on "large employers," which include state or local governments, in states using the federal exchange. That power was never given to the IRS as part of the law and allows the government to punish states that didn't create their own exchanges, he argued in documents filed in U.S. District Court in Muskogee.

Oklahoma and some other Republican-controlled states have refused to set up their own exchanges, meaning the federal government will implement one.

The government alleges that Pruitt's arguments amount to "a 'difference of opinion' between the state and the federal government, not a case or controversy." But Pruitt said his lawsuit is focused on "the legality of what the IRS is doing and ensuring that the federal government complies with implementation of its own law."

"The administration miscalculated how many states would support this law, so now they're using the IRS to push through provisions that Congress did not pass," said Pruitt, a Republican and frequent critic of policies adopted by Democratic President Barack Obama's administration.

"Congress provided a choice for Oklahoma and other states in implementation of the law," Pruitt added. "The IRS is attempting through this rule to take away that choice."

Pruitt originally filed his lawsuit in 2011, then amended it after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law last year.

The amended complaint seeks recognition that a voter-approved amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution protects citizens from mandated purchases of health insurance. The lawsuit also alleges that federal regulations and plans to create online insurance marketplaces do not comply with the Administrative Procedures Act, which are guidelines used to adjudicate legal disputes, and should be invalidated.

The lawsuit alleges the law is unconstitutional because it gives the government control over state legislative and executive power, exceeds Congress' authority and infringes on state sovereignty.


Text Only
National and world
  • Senate Georgia web.jpg Perdue defeats Kingston in Georgia Senate runoff

    Tuesday night’s primary runoff win validates Perdue’s campaign as an outsider.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ODD Brooklyn Bridge M_Hass.jpg Police probing switch of flags on Brooklyn Bridge

    Video footage of the security breach shows the unidentified people walking on the bridge's footpath at about 3:10 a.m., and 20 minutes later the light on the bridge's Brooklyn tower flickers and goes dark. The same thing happens about 12 minutes later on the Manhattan tower.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Veterans Health_Hass.jpg Obama nominee McDonald pledges to ‘transform’ VA

    Robert McDonald cited problems with patient access to health care, transparency, accountability and integrity, among other issues, during a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee over his nomination today.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • Immigration Overload_Hass.jpg 2008 law unexpectedly at center of border debate

    "The 2008 law creates a process that made sense when you're talking about a limited number of children, the victims of sex trafficking. It doesn't make sense when you talk about 50,000 unaccompanied minors. The 2008 law wasn't designed to deal with this situation." — Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Mideast Israe_Hass.jpg Gaza rocket lands near Israel's main airport

    A Delta Boeing 747 from New York was flying over the Mediterranean headed for Tel Aviv on Tuesday when it turned around and flew to Paris instead. Flight 468 had 273 passengers and 17 crew on board.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rick Perry sending National Guard troops to border

    The deployment of National Guard troops, which may act in a law enforcement capacity under state authority, will cost Texas an estimated $12 million per month. They simply will be “referring and deterring” immigrants and not detaining people, authorities said.

    July 21, 2014

  • Gay, transgender workers gain U.S. bias protection

    “America’s federal contracts should not subsidize discrimination against the American people,” President Obama declared at a White House signing ceremony.

    July 21, 2014 1 Story

  • Judge won’t lift Fla. Keys gay marriage stay

    Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia rejected a motion to allow immediate weddings filed by attorneys for Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, a pair of Key West bartenders whose lawsuit successfully challenged the ban.

    July 21, 2014

  • Obama Medal of Honor_Hass.jpg Obama bestows Medal of Honor on N.H. veteran

    Ryan M. Pitts is the ninth living recipient of the nation’s highest decoration for battlefield valor for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 200 pairs of panties stolen at east Georgia mall

    The Augusta Chronicle reports that security video shows a male entering the store and stuffing the underwear into a large shopping bag.

    July 21, 2014

Featured Ads