Monday, March 25, 2013


Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

Three years ago last week, President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act- aka ObamaCare.  Oklahoma government and the majority of Oklahoma citizens haven’t embraced it.  In fact in November 2010, Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly voted to amend the state constitution to allow citizens to opt out of ObamaCare.  But that doesn’t mean ObamaCare is going away.

On January 1, 2014, all American citizens must have qualifying insurance coverage and large employers must provide that insurance or face stiff penalties.  That is also the date when the ‘health care exchanges’ will go into effect.  The exchanges are websites where citizens can buy health care insurance that is federally subsidized.  Thus far Governor Fallin and the Oklahoma legislature have rejected the federal money to establish a state government operated health care exchange.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a lawsuit challenging the Internal Revenue Service’s unlawful attempt to impose ObamaCare’s taxes on exempt employers and individuals. “Oklahoma’s lawsuit has never been about the policy or politics of the Affordable Care Act; it is about the legality of the IRS rule and ensuring that the federal government complies with implementation of its own law,”  Pruitt said. Along with challenging the new IRS rule, the complaint asks the Court to recognize that the Supreme Court’s designation of the health care act’s individual mandate as a tax means it no longer conflicts with Oklahoma’s constitutional provision that says no law or rule can “compel any person, employer or health care provider to participate in any health care system.” 

The Cato Institute last week issued a reported titled, “50 Vetoes: How States Can Stop the Obama Health Care Law,” which urged other states to follow Oklahoma’s lead and refuse to establish exchanges.  They also said Pruitt’s lawsuit was one that could be the downfall of ObamaCare.  Thirty three other states have said they are not building exchanges, but none have the lawsuit challenging the authority of the feds to impose a tax without statutory authority.  You can read the entire report at

"Oklahoma is in a unique position with the only active lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act to hold the federal government accountable in how it implements the law.  Now that the Supreme Court has deemed the ACA a tax, and therefore constitutional, the federal government must follow the law and proper procedures, and that is not being done,”  Pruitt said. If Oklahoma doesn’t build an exchange, neither the subsidies nor the penalties can come to the state, Pruitt argues.

“A critical mass of states exercising their vetoes over exchanges and the Medicaid expansion can force Congress to reconsider, and hopefully repeal, the rest of this counterproductive law,” the Cato report says.  Don’t bet on that.  So called trailer bills or clean up bills are seldom run and when they are they usually don’t make a great deal of difference.  That doesn’t mean states shouldn’t pressure their federal delegations to work for repeal of ObamaCare.  

One of the most controversial provisions of ObamaCare is the expansion of Medicaid.  Under OmabamaCare, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of new benefits for the first three years of Medicaid expansion. After that, a share of the costs would be shifted to the states, with the state’s share capping at 10 percent in 2022. Fallin has argued that the state can’t rely on the federal reimbursement promises.

Three observations:

First, companies will not pay fines and penalties- their customers and clients will.    Any fine or penalty accessed to a company will be simply passed onto consumers in the form of a price increase.  In a down economy the last thing we need is increases in goods and services.  And think of the snowball effect these increases will have- every company will pass not only their health care increase down to the consumer, but the increase they received from their suppliers. 

Second, there is simply NO such thing as FREE healthcare.  Somebody pays for it.  Either the consumer, the taxpayer or the health care provider.  While it would be great to be able to provide health care to every American at no charge, the federal government simply cannot afford to do it.  America is drowning in a sea of debt and unless we get federal spending under control, we will not survive as a county. 

Third, we are quickly becoming a welfare state in America.  There are less Americans working as a percentage of our population than in the past thirty years.  Yet today, those same citizens are outraged while the government(taxpayers) balk at providing them food, healthcare, and free cell phones.  They fail to see that ObamaCare is just another way to give government more control over their lives and make them a slave to the government.

The ONLY free gift mankind has ever gotten is the gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ.  Rest assured, ObamaCare is not free, somebody is paying the bill and it is probably you.

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