WASHINGTON — States can choose whether to expand their Medicaid programs because of the legal fight waged by some state attorneys general against the federal health care law, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said here Monday.
“Across the country right now, the decision that governors are making on whether to expand Medicaid — that decision didn't even exist prior to attorneys general bringing this particular litigation,” Pruitt said during an online news conference with two other Republican attorneys general.
“And so that was a clear benefit where our states were able to participate in cooperative federalism to make a decision about whether Medicaid should be expanded.”
Pruitt, chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, and some of his GOP colleagues have been challenging the authority of the president — and Congress in some instances — to exert power in areas that the attorneys general say are reserved for the states.
Pruitt has joined 10 other attorneys general in a lawsuit over some provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act; some attorneys general also have been fighting the administration in court over voting laws, and Pruitt is engaged in a case against the Environmental Protection Agency over the application of air pollution rules in Oklahoma.
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said Monday that Republican and Democratic administrations had been guilty of violating states' rights.
“We're now taking a stand,” Olens said. “And we're now saying it's not going to happen anymore, whether the president is Republican or Democrat. The constitution is going to be followed.”