Oklahoma Fights Federal Health Care Legislation

Oklahoma Fights Federal Health Care Legislation

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

The Oklahoma Legislature has entered the fight against federal health care mandates. Not only have legislative leaders asked Attorney General Drew Edmondson to file a lawsuit to block the legislation, but they have also prioritized legislation to allow the people to vote to exempt Oklahoma from mandates and the tax burden that accompanies them.

I believe a federal mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional. Forcing American citizens to purchase health insurance is one of the greatest fouls against freedom this country has ever witnessed. Our private health care system is not perfect, but that does not mean it should be replaced with an unaffordable and unconstitutional system when other means to correct it are available. This bill will trigger the largest tax increase in the history of the United States. Many have projected that the IRS will be expanded by 17,000 workers. This bill will cut Medicare by $520 billion. Though its supporters say it will cost $940 billion, I know from my work on the federal level that this means it will be well over a trillion dollars when all is said and done.

At no time in our nation’s history has a piece of legislation of this magnitude passed with zero support from one of the two major political parties. Medicare, voting rights, Civil rights, and Social Security legislation all had bipartisan support. More importantly, the passage of this legislation went against the 56 percent of the American people who came out against it in polling.

President Barack Obama was able to obtain a narrow majority of U.S. House lawmakers by issuing an executive order that states the legislation will not be used for federally funded abortions. Unfortunately, that executive order is no more than a piece of paper that can be rescinded at any time. President Obama is the most pro-abortion president our nation has ever had.

Oklahoma will severely suffer as a result of this law. Rural doctors will likely close their doors or refuse to accept insurance. Our state already has a shortage of doctors and this will only exacerbate the problem.

I know that my constituents do not want the government to control their “right” to have health care.  Our rights come from God, not government, as enshrined by the Declaration of Independence.

 The Oklahoma Legislature is capable of addressing problems in the health care system. In past years, we exempted plans from state mandates so that young, healthy Oklahomans could get lower premiums. We passed lawsuit reform to drive down health care costs. I believe that the next step is to open up more private competition by allowing out-of-state health insurers to offer their services to Oklahomans and finding away to allow individuals to carry their insurance from one job to the next. Changing the tax code to end discrimination against self-employed individuals would also help, particularly in the agricultural field in rural Oklahoma.

I did experience a bright spot in the health care realm this past week. Friday, I had the honor of touring the Town of Vici Nursing Home. Meeting LaRessa Hutchens and Michael Boone was a pleasure. I was very impressed with Ms. Hutchens and her staff. The town of Vici and the people who depend on this nursing facility are truly blessed.

I will keep you regularly updated on the activities of the Legislature through this column. As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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