Oklahoma's governor, attorney general, congressional delegation and the president of the State Chamber were unanimous Thursday in their criticism of the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, a federal health care law aimed at covering more than 30 million Americans without medical insurance.
“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,” Gov. Mary Fallin said. “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 (Barack) 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.”
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa: “I am disappointed that the court has upheld the individual mandate as a tax. By ruling it a tax, I suspect that this issue will come up again in 2015 when that portion of the law goes into effect.
“In the meantime, even though President Obama said in 2009 that this is ‘absolutely not a tax increase,' it turns out that Obama and the Democrats have levied an enormous tax increase on the middle and lower classes. The individual mandate will cost Americans the greater of a per-person flat fee or percentage of the household's income. The flat fee is up to $695, and the income percentage is up to 2.5 percent. That is just not workable for most families.
“Aspects of the measure have infringed upon religious rights, cost our economy jobs, and will add to our skyrocketing federal debt.”
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore: “While I respect the Supreme Court, I respectfully disagree with its decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. In a sense, however, today's decision changes nothing. Although the Supreme Court ruled very narrowly that Obamacare does not violate the Constitution, it remains a deeply flawed, unworkable and damaging law. Overwhelming evidence continues to show that the law will raise insurance costs, decrease health care access, force millions of Americans into government-run health care and hurt the economy. The American people can rest assured that congressional Republicans are committed to repealing this dangerous law and replacing it with sensible reforms.
“The final decision is now in the hands of the American people. They elected a House of Representatives in 2010 that proved willing and able to repeal Obamacare. It is imperative that they do the same with respect to the Senate and the presidency in 2012.”
Rep. John Sullivan, R-Tulsa: “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 Court's 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 confident the American people will vote to repeal this law at the ballot box in November by making Barack Obama a one term president.”
Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee: “It has always been my belief that health care reform should be done incrementally. There are pieces of the health care law, like covering patients with pre-existing conditions, on which most Oklahomans and many Americans agree. As we move forward, I hope we can find bipartisan solutions to addressing our nation's health care challenges.”
John Hart, spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee: “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.”
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne: “I am disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the president's health care law. Americans have spoken loudly in opposition to this unworkable law, and it is discouraging the court has found it constitutional. Families should have the freedom to make their own health care decisions, and Obamacare takes that freedom away, while in-turn costing our nation trillions of dollars without addressing our health care problems.
“I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to fully repeal the law and enact reforms to our nation's health care system that protect Americans' access to health care. We need to refocus our efforts to make efficient and cost effective changes to the system, while also ensuring health care treatments are never rationed by government officials.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt: “We disagree with the decision on the unconstitutionality of the health care act and find it disturbing that the Court did not place a limit on the power of the federal government to control the lives of Americans through the Commerce Clause. But, the battle isn't over.
“It now is up to the political process to repeal the act and replace it with measures that address the health care crisis within the confines of the Constitution. We must continue to oppose this act and multiple overreaching regulations proposed by the Obama Administration that cross the line of federal power.”
Fred Morgan, president of the State Chamber: “We are extremely disappointed in this decision. This is exactly what we feared when we formed the Oklahomans for Free Market Health Solutions coalition last year to help support an Oklahoma-based solution to the federal exchange mandate in the ACA. We now face a situation where a health insurance exchange crafted by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. will now be forced upon Oklahomans. We cannot let this happen and must take swift action to create a private sector driven health insurance marketplace in order to avoid a federally mandated system.
“The ramifications of this decision are not yet completely known, but we believe this change will erode the quality of care Oklahomans have come to expect and ultimately increase costs for all Americans.”