Oklahoma is a lone holdout in its continued fight against the Affordable Care Act with the only active lawsuit against “ObamaCare.”
Wednesday, Oklahoma’s Attorney General filed an amended complaint in federal court.
Scott Pruitt said Thursday the amended lawsuit deals with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Oklahoma doesn’t plan to run its own health care exchange that would allow consumers to apply for government-subsidized insurance.
Pruitt said that should make the state’s employers exempt from any federal penalty.
He said he has no political agenda with the lawsuit.
“I do not. This is about enforcement of the law,” he said.
Pruitt said it was the IRS that overstepped their legal authority back in May.
Under their new rules, Oklahoma’s large businesses would still have to pay a penalty or tax if employees sign up for health care through a federal exchange.
But Pruitt said the Affordable Care Act doesn’t give the IRS that power to penalize states that don’t have a state health care exchange.
“The IRS has acted inconsistent with that and so this is a check on the IRS to say you can’t pass a rule that places that penalty on Oklahoma businesses in the face of a statute that says that you can’t,” Pruitt said.
Regarding the health exchange itself…
“The federal government has been extremely slow to issue rules on what a federal exchange is going to look like,” Susan Dobbins said, Oklahoma Insurance Department Deputy General Council.
Dobbins said the whole point of the IRS rule is to penalize companies that don’t offer their employees affordable insurance.
But she said it could all change following November’s election.
“You could call it a vigilant wait-and-see mode because we are trying to stay abreast of all the guidance that comes out, all the rules that come out,” Dobbins said.
Treasury department officials have criticized attacks on IRS regulations as attempts to deny tax credits to millions of Americans.
Pruitt said there needs to be an improvement in how health care is delivered in this country, but said it needs to follow the constitution.