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US Judge Sides With Oklahoma In Health Care Suit

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A federal judge has sided with Oklahoma in its lawsuit challenging some subsidies offered to people who buy insurance under the health care law.

U.S. District Judge Ronald White is the latest to weigh in on regulations that allow health insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act in all 50 states. Earlier this month, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia threw out a decision that had questioned those subsidies.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt sued in 2011, claiming that the law didn't explicitly allow subsidies for people who bought insurance in states, like Oklahoma, that didn't set up their own insurance exchanges. In a ruling Tuesday, White agreed, saying the regulation was "an abuse of discretion."

White stayed his ruling pending appeal.

Governor Mary Fallin released the following statement regarding U.S. District Judge Ronald White's ruling in favor of a 2012 lawsuit filed by the state of Oklahoma:

“For years, I have argued that Obamacare represents bad policy, irresponsible spending, an outrageous expansion of federal authority into the private sector, and unconstitutional law. Since 2012, the state of Oklahoma has been fighting the implementation of the ACA, both to protect our citizens from the negative effects of this law – including devastating cuts to Medicare -- and to stand up for Constitutional principles.

“Today, Oklahomans won a major victory, as a United States District Court ruled in favor of Oklahoma's lawsuit challenging the implementation of Obamacare. My thanks go out to Attorney General Scott Pruitt and his team who have relentlessly continued the fight to defend Oklahomans from federal overreach and unconstitutional mandates.”

Representative James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, released the following statements regarding the ruling:

“Once again, Oklahoma's Attorney General Scott Pruitt deserves our state's gratitude for his diligent work on behalf of Oklahomans against the Administration's overreach and redefinition of the Affordable Care Act,” said Lankford. “I am glad we have such a zealous advocate for our state in the court room, as the Obama Administration attempts to reinterpret the law when the text of the law doesn't work for their purposes.

“When Attorney General Pruitt laid out the facts of the Oklahoma case in my Oversight Subcommittee last year, no one from the Administration could detail how they made the decision to ignore the plain text of the law. Ultimately, the court ruled that the law means what the law says, not what any federal agency wants the law to say.

“The blame for the latest mess in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act lies squarely on the shoulders of the federal legislators who wrote a law that clearly prevents any tax credits from being used for any federal health exchange. As I have said before, the ACA is not only bad healthcare policy, but also a poorly written healthcare law. My focus remains on healthcare solutions that immediately return decision-making authority back to patients, families and the states, so they can administer health care for their communities.”

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