By Joe Wolverton, II on August 29, 2013
In yet another indication that ObamaCare must be repealed, a federal judge ruled last week that a challenge to the healthcare “law” filed by the state of Oklahoma may proceed.
According to a report in the Washington Times, the suit filed by the Sooner State “claims the federal government is unlawfully extending tax credits to states that opted not to set up their own insurance exchanges under the new health care law.”
In his order, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald A. White refused to rule on the merits of the case, but simply permitted the challenge to proceed along the path of adjudication.
Although not all of the state’s assertions were accepted by White, among those that the judge did sign off on was the claim that the state as an employer would be harmed by the administration’s application of various provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Specifically, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt argues that President Obama is permitting federal healthcare agencies to ignore the letter of the law in order to benefit the federal government. The Washington Times explains the government’s alleged errant interpretation:
The Affordable Care Act says government subsidies intended to help people buy health insurance should go to exchanges “established by the State.”
The exchanges, where Americans without employer-based insurance will buy coverage through premium tax credits, will start to enroll consumers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on Oct. 1 for health coverage that takes effect in January.
Mr. Pruitt wants the court to issue an injunction that prevents the government from doling out tax credits to exchanges set up by the federal government. His lawsuit also seeks a court ruling that declares invalid the Internal Revenue Service rule that cleared the way for subsidies to be offered on the federally run exchanges.
Attorney General Pruitt claims that if the Obama administration’s tax credit policy is allowed to continue, Oklahoma and all other states which establish exchanges will be subject to the ACA’s employer mandate, a provision requiring companies with 50 or more full-time employees to provide approved health insurance or pay a fine. The fines are assessed if even one employee chooses to take advantage of federal subsidies offered on the federally-run exchange.