House overrides governor’s veto of ‘ObamaCare’ challenge

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 18-May-2010

Legislation that would challenge the federalized health care system has been revived after the Oklahoma House of Representatives overrode Gov. Brad Henry’s veto today (Tuesday, May 18).

“Lawmakers intend to pass this legislation with or without the governor’s support,” state Rep. Mike Ritze, a Broken Arrow Repubilcan, said. “It has been disappointing to see both the attorney general and governor once again at odds with the will of Oklahomans, but they do not have the final say.”

House Joint Resolution 1054, by Ritze (R-Broken Arrow), state Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-Owasso), and state Rep. Mike Reynolds (R-Oklahoma City), amends Oklahoma law to allow citizens to opt-out of the new federal system and retain their current coverage. Another provision will allow the Legislature to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health care mandates.

In a statement on Monday, Rep. Ritze had expressed confidence in the override effort.

Reynolds said the federal legislation is ripe for challenge:

“Congress made a very bold transgression in mandating that individuals purchase health insurance. The citizens of Oklahoma want the choice of paying for health care without having to carry federally mandated insurance policies.”

House Joint Resolution 1054 would protect any person, employer or health care provider in Oklahoma from being compelled to participate in any health care system. It also prevents Oklahomans from being financially penalized if they choose not to purchase insurance mandated by the federal health care plan, and doctors would still be allowed to accept direct payment without fear of financial penalty.

Ritze, a physician and surgeon, said that Oklahoma of all states needs to challenge the federal legislation.

“Our state stands to lose more than others, yet our statewide leaders have not chosen to stand with the Legislature and the people on this important issue,” Ritze said. “Oklahoma has an extremely low physician–to-patient ratio, which will only be exacerbated by the federal mandates. We must do something.”

Dr. Ritze and other Republicans have pressed to challenge the new federal law, which they dub “ObamaCare,” ever since it passed this spring.

 Also pending in the Legislature is a proposal to amend the state constitution to assure the legal protections in H.J.R. 1054.