Attorney General Pruitt, fellow Republicans assail health care ruling, predict new reforms

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt led a chorus of state Republican officials in assailing the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the controversial individual mandate and other provisions of President Barack Obama’s health care law, enacted in 2010.

Pruitt, who watched the High Court render its decision this morning (Thursday, June 28), echoed the comments of Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin. He said he was “disappointed the Court upheld the individual mandate, and find it disturbing that they did not place a limit on the power of the federal government to control the lives of Americans. But, the battle isn’t over. 

“It is now 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.”

Pruitt was in the nation’s capital city to testify before a Congressional subcommittee. His office filed an amicus brief in t he case decided by a sharply divided Court, and filed his own lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.  

Also decrying the decision was U.S. Sen. James Inhofe of Tulsa. He and Pruitt worked together to oppose the law. Inhofe expressed frustration over the ruling, but also noted the Court described the federal law as a tax increase. 

He observed, “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. Despite promising to bring health care costs down, the Congressional Budget Office projects that costs will continue to rise and more people will become dependent upon the federal government for their health care coverage.
“This law increases premiums for families by $2,100 per year, and will put one in six hospitals in the red because of cuts to Medicare, jeopardizing access to treatment.  In addition to the $52 billion in tax penalties on employers, this law will mean 800,000 fewer jobs at a time when unemployment has been at 8 percent or higher for 40 straight months.” 
Inhofe declared, “Obamacare costs too much in the form of lost rights, lost jobs, higher taxes, and increased debt.  I will join with my colleagues to repeal this law and pursue sensible healthcare reform.”
U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, dean of the Oklahoma congressional delegation, reflected, “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.”

Dr. Mike Ritze, one of only two physicians in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, slammed the Court’s 5-4 verdict. In comments sent to CapitolBeatOK, Ritze said, “The federal health care law represents a radical change toward socialized medicine and the idea of the federal government forcing Americans to buy health insurance was a bold overreach. I simply don’t see how the Supreme Court could justify upholding this law.”

Dr. Ritze predicted the law will ultimately be repealed, and said he would continue his own efforts in that direction: “Although most Americans want to see our health care system improved, they do not want the government to take it over or to make important decisions for them. There is a conservative approach to fixing the system, which is to remove the government intervention already in place that has kept it from being a truly free market system.”
Matt Pinnell, chairman of the Oklahoma Republican party, told CapitolBeatOK, “We have a path to defeating Obamacare and it is by electing a new president. Governor Romney has been crystal clear: What the Supreme Court didn’t do on the last day of its session, Mitt Romney will do on his first day in office and repeal and replace Obamacare.”
In a prepared statement, Pinnell also said, “It was over two years ago that Nancy Pelosi said, ‘We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.’ Well, Americans did find out what was in it and they’ve been against this massive government-growing, budget-busting, hyper-partisan bill ever since.”