Oklahoma Reaction to Affordable Care Act Ruling

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Below are excerpts of written statements or live interviews about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act.

The 6-3 ruling in King vs. Burwell handed the Obama administration a major victory and leaves no major legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act. States retain the right to refuse to set up their own online health-care exchanges or to expand Medicaid to cover more residents. Oklahomans have bought ACA policies on the federal exchange.

Gov. Mary Fallin (R)

“The Supreme Court’s decision today in King v. Burwell means that taxpayers will be, for the time being, stuck with a law that is deeply flawed, disruptive to the lives of American families and a destructive force in our economy…

“Regardless of the court’s ruling today, the status quo cannot be allowed to stand. Now, more than ever, the American people need Congress to use its powers to move the country towards constructive, market-oriented solutions that empower families, provide flexibility to states, improve health and reduce the cost of health care.”

Read full statement.

Oklahoma Policy Institute
Nonprofit research and advocacy group

“The Supreme Court decision is a victory for tens of thousands of Oklahomans and millions of Americans. The Affordable Care Act’s subsidies are helping more than 87,000 Oklahomans purchase affordable health coverage and making Oklahoma a stronger, healthier state…

“It is time for Oklahoma lawmakers to move past fruitless obstruction of the law and shift that energy into making sure that it succeeds in providing access to affordable coverage to as many Oklahomans as possible. A good start would be to accept federal funds to extend health coverage to the 150,000 low-income, working Oklahomans in a “coverage crater” because they make too much to qualify for Soonercare but not enough to receive subsidies on the federal marketplace.”

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U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R)

“I am profoundly disappointed with today’s Supreme Court decision. Obamacare continues to be a nightmare for millions of Americans who are facing higher premiums, higher deductibles, and fewer health care options…

Oklahomans shouldn’t pay the price for regulators’ free interpretation. The problems with Obamacare run deeper than just drafting errors. Washington Democrats jammed this poorly written law through Congress five years ago and the resulting ambiguity is one of the many problems we will face for years to come.”

State Rep. Scott Inman (D-Del City)
Democratic Minority Leader, State House

“In a state where 1 in 5 of our citizens is without access to health insurance, resulting in poor health outcomes and financially failing rural hospitals, it was appalling to see our state’s leaders like Fallin and Pruitt spend hundreds of thousands, potentially more than a million, of Oklahoma tax dollars in an effort to make health care more difficult and more costly for Oklahoma citizens to receive…

“In light of the fact that the alternative supported by Fallin and Pruitt is to expand Insure Oklahoma, a program Governor (Brad) Henry created and which they opposed from its inception, it’s clear politics and not people are at the center of their opposition.”

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R)

“Obamacare has been broken from the very beginning. Rather than reduce the cost and increase the availability of health care options, the law has centralized decision-making in Washington to the detriment of the American people.

“Despite this ruling, my colleagues and I remain committed to repealing Obamacare and replacing it with patient-centered reforms that will reduce the cost of care such that subsidies are not required to make health insurance affordable.”

Keith Gaddie
Political science professor, University of Oklahoma

“It means that our entire Republican congressional delegation has avoided another divisive debate about Obamacare and now can rail against the court and get reelected.

“The only thing that makes sense for us to do now is set up a state exchange and get the Medicaid money. What we are now doing is subsidizing everyone else’s health care around the country. We need to take steps to put in place a health-care exchange that truly fits our marketplace. Why shouldn’t they do that instead of leaving it to the national pool?”

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb (R)

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that our liberal judiciary has sided with the Obama administration and opted for judicial activism instead of a strict interpretation of the actual law as written. This activism reinvigorates my steadfast belief in states’ rights. It is more important than ever to keep state issues out of the federal court system.”

Mark Hammons (D)
Chair, Oklahoma Democratic Party

“We are very pleased that the Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the Republican-appointed U.S. Supreme Court. This shows that even partisan judges have recognized that this Act is a reasonable and appropriate way to handle the health crisis in the United States.

“This represents an opportunity for the Republican Governor in Oklahoma to put aside partisan politics and embrace a bipartisan system that will bring billions of tax dollars back to Oklahoma, provide health coverage to over 200,000 Oklahomans, create more than 13,000 jobs in the health care industry, and save our rural hospitals from bankruptcy.”

State Sen. Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa)
Senate President Pro Tempore

“Today’s ruling on Obamacare is unfortunate. Yet again, we are forced to comply with a flawed law that has presented challenges from the beginning. Instead of improving health care across the nation, Obamacare has burdened families with increased insurance costs, restricted the decision-making authority of states, and negatively impacted our economy. Now is the time for our leaders in Washington, D.C. to rally around solutions that truly reform this broken health care system.”