State to revise arguments against Affordable Care Act
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
A spokeswoman for Attorney General Scott Pruitt says the state will be renewing a legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday in a Muskogee-based federal court.
A previous state challenge in U.S. Eastern District Court was largely undercut by the U.S. Supreme Court's June ruling that the law -- "Obamacare" to its opponents -- is essentially constitutional.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Ronald White gave Pruitt until Wednesday to either revise his arguments or see the case dismissed. At the time, Diane Clay, Pruitt's spokeswoman, said the state wasn't willing to say whether it would file a new argument or not.
On Wednesday morning Clay said revised arguments would be filed with the court, probably close to the end of the day.
In previous filings, Pruitt had suggested he might seek to argue that the law itself would prevent enforcement of tax penalties against certain Oklahoma companies that do not provide health insurance to their employees.
Under the law, if a company with more than 50 workers fails to offer a qualifying health package to its full-time employees and one of those people gets coverage through a state health insurance exchange, the company is subject to a tax of $2,000 for every employee.
In previous filings, Pruitt pointed out that Oklahoma isn't planning to establish a state health insurance exchange. While the law provides for a federally imposed exchange for states that don't establish their own, Pruitt has suggested that the two types of exchanges are legally distinguishable, meaning the tax can't be applied in the state.
The IRS has said it plans to collect the tax in all states, regardless of whether the exchange is established by the state or the federal government.
Read more about this story in Thursday's Tulsa World.
Attorney General Scott Pruitt