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Challenge to Medicaid expansion pays off for states, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt says

Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general say they will continue to fight the federal government when they believe states’ rights are at stake.

BY CHRIS CASTEEL Published: February 26, 2013
/articleid/3759077/1/pictures/1963462">Photo - Scott Pruitt
Scott Pruitt

Attorneys general are in Washington for a conference, and they heard Monday from one of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s top deputies.

Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West touted cooperation between his department and state attorneys general on issues such as financial fraud and homeland security and said the relationship had never been more productive or important.

“Often we’re all dealing with the same problems,” West said. “And we’re serving the same public — a public that is more interested in our finding practical and effective solutions than they are about whatever boundaries may exist between state and federal jurisdiction.”

Health care case

The U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled unconstitutional the portion of the health care law that required states to expand their Medicaid programs to include more low-income people. The high court’s ruling made Medicaid expansion optional, and several states, including Oklahoma, have rejected the expansion.

Pruitt said he is still challenging the health care law in federal court in eastern Oklahoma. That case could be pivotal in states like Oklahoma, which have decided against setting up their own health insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, Pruitt said.

The case, which could be decided this year, Pruitt said, centers on whether the health care law’s employer mandate to provide affordable insurance allows for employers to be taxed in states that don’t set up their own exchanges.

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