Oklahoma Pushes Back Against Feds' Rebuttal In State's Health Law Challenge

The Oklahoma attorney general argued that the Internal Revenue Service does not have the power to implement the health overhaul.  

Bloomberg: Oklahoma Rebuts U.S. In State's Challenge To Health Care Act
Oklahoma opposed a request by the U.S. that a judge dismiss the state's lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama's 2010 health-care reform legislation. The U.S. District Court in Muskogee, Oklahoma, has the authority to determine whether the state is "injured" by the federal government's disregard for a 2010 amendment to the state’s constitution barring bar any rule or law that compels a person, an employer or health-care provider to participate in a health care system, Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a filing with the court today (Rosenblatt, 1/25).

The Associated Press: Oklahoma AG Challenges Federal Health Care Claims
Lawyers for the federal government have asked that the lawsuit be dismissed. Pruitt's main argument centers on health insurance exchanges. ... States were told they could create their own exchanges or defer to a federally created program. Pruitt argues that the IRS created a rule that allows it to levy millions of dollars in tax penalties on “large employers,” which include state or local governments, in states using the federal exchange. That power was never given to the IRS as part of the law and allows the government to punish states that didn’t create their own exchanges, he argued (Talley, 1/27).

Earlier, related KHN analysis: Health Exchanges And The Litigation Landscape (Taylor, 11/29).

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