Rep. Key makes case for constitutional block on ‘ObamaCare’

CapitolBeatOK Staff Report

Published: 18-May-2010

State Rep. Charles Key, an Oklahoma City Republican, is making the case to refer to a statewide popular vote the “opt-out” provisions in Senate Joint Resolution 59. The state constitutional proposal by state Rep. Mike Thompson of Oklahoma City and Sen. Dan Newberry of Tulsa, is pending in the Legislature.

The state House overrode Gov. Brad Henry’s veto of H.J.R. 1054, a statutory measure authorizing legislative leaders to take legal action against the new federal health care bill, dubbed “ObamaCare” by critics.

Key argues that the state Senate may not override the governor’s veto, leaving a state constitutional measure as the only means to oppose what he called “ the federal government’s egregious takeover of America’s healthcare system.”

In an analysis sent to CapitolBeatOK yesterday, Rep. Key predicted the override would fall short in the upper chamber, concluding, “With less than 10 days left in this year’s legislative session, it is critical that we act immediately to protect Oklahomans from the federal healthcare mandates and the only option left is passing SJR 59.”

Key continued, “Oklahomans should not be forced by Congress to participate in this unconstitutional and financially devastating assault on our freedoms and our healthcare rights. The actions of our Governor and inaction by our Attorney General leave me and other legislators with the belief that the only way we can stop the President and Congress’s attack on our constitutional and healthcare freedoms is to put ObamaCare to a vote of the people.

“SJR 59 will allow Oklahomans to vote on a constitutional amendment that will prohibit the federal government from encroaching on Oklahomans’ healthcare freedoms. It will also protect your right to preserve your current doctor-patient relationship and the ability to seek out the best health care services without fear of punitive federal government intervention.

“Because SJR 59 is a constitutional amendment, it does not have to go to the Governor’s desk for signature, but can go immediately to the ballot. This legislation has already passed both the House and the Senate with strong, bipartisan support.  If this legislation were to once again pass the House, the citizens of Oklahoma would be given an opportunity to make their voices heard.

“I encourage every Oklahoman concerned about their constitutional freedoms and their choice in healthcare to encourage their Representative to push for an immediate vote on HJR59.

“Oklahomans overwhelmingly oppose the federally mandated healthcare plan passed by Congress and as legislators, it is our responsibility to give voice to their concern and allow them to vote on this critical issue.  With two weeks left in the legislative session, inaction is a price we cannot afford.”

Throughout this legislative session, Republicans in the Legislature have pursued multiple strategies to put Oklahoma on record against the new federal health care law, and to provide “opt-out” provisions to guard against mandates forcing citizens into the new systems created by the law.