Pruitt’s Challenge of Obamacare

By State Rep. Mike Sanders

On Jan. 21, Oklahoma’s new attorney general filed a lawsuit against the federal health care overhaul signed into law by President Barack Obama. I could not be more pleased that the new attorney general is fully committed to fighting Congress’s unconstitutional and impractical legislation. Despite the dramatic change this last election brought to the U.S. Congress, it is unlikely that a repeal will be passed. It is up to state attorney generals to defeat the new federal law.

As I have said in the past, I believe a federal mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional. I have noted that it will trigger the largest tax increase in the history of the United States, while at the same time cutting Medicare by $520 billion.

We can address local health care problems ourselves. The Oklahoma Legislature enacted lawsuit reform to drive down health care costs and exempted certain insurance plans from state mandates to reduce premiums. 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 a way 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.

Pruitt’s lawsuit also defends the Oklahoma Health Care Freedom constitutional amendment approved by Oklahoma voters this past election. I was a proud supporter of this amendment which declares that Oklahomans cannot be required to purchase individual health care coverage.

On Jan. 25, I joined the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Public Safety in hearing performance reviews from the state fire marshal, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, ABLE Commission, the Department of Public Safety, the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation, and the state medical examiner’s office. With an estimated revenue shortfall of $500-600 million, this is going to be a year full of tough decisions. However, I am confident we can streamline government. Government is meant to work for us; we are not meant to work for our government.

As always, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at the Capitol at (405) 557-7407.

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