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.”

  • Terry

    Thank you for voicing what any intelligent American should agree on and sticking to your viewpoint. The ACA is a travesty to all hard working individuals that are now saddled with paying other people’s healthcare cost. The Federal Government has overstepped it’s authority and I am dismayed to see our system of checks and balances failing. What has happened to our countries pride of individual freedoms? I fear we have become a Nation of handouts, and that can only serve to destroy us.

    • houbc

      Don’t be delusional. Taxpayers always have and always will cover poor people’s healthcare costs, with or without ACA.

    • Donald

      Clearly you don’t understand how insurance works. You aren’t paying for anyone else’s healthcare costs any more under this plan than you would be under any other health insurance plan. That’s how insurance works. People pay in premiums and the insurance companies use those premiums to balance out the health care needs while still making a profit (and often an exorbitant profit because they deny so many claims for no other reason than to just stiff their insureds). If this system weren’t in place, you’d still be paying for other’s health costs through the higher taxes, higher health care costs, and higher insurance premiums that are charged to offset the costs of the uninsured using the public health care system, like Emergency Rooms, without having to pay much, if anything, because they have to be treated under the law, even if they can’t pay. At least with this system, some of those people can now actually afford coverage, which means in that the taxpayers actually bear less in many cases.

  • Reasonableguy

    Don’t know why Google news gave such prominent placement to this article. But seeing the comments from your Oklahoma Politicians – you all have my sympathies.
    Already knew what a jackass you have in Inofee, didn’t know your governor and others were so nasty as well.
    Good luck in 2016, perhaps you can elect some Democrats, or Green Party.

  • Len Rose

    I left OK a long long time ago due to the the stupidity and self serving pols. Nothing seems to have gotten better.

    The governor and these two senators haven’t got a clue as to how to truely serve Oklahomans.

    Their political interests serve them well – but the 150,000 low-income, working Oklahomans don’t make political contributions – so these pols don’t have their well being in their sites.

    Tell these jerks to get off their political soap box and go to work for ALL Oklahomans or get out of office so someone who cares can deliver the required healthcare services that the conservative slanted SCOTUS has nailed down

  • PG McCarthy

    A sad day for the American people who continue to travel down the road of greater and greater government dependency and a loss of freedoms. In exchange for a false sense of security, we give up our ability to manage our own affairs with freedom and personal accountability. Big Mommy Government will take care of us – as best she can. . . . .

    • Ralph

      How much are the Koch brothers paying you to recite this nonsense?

  • Al Covell

    Not one of the Oklahoma pols quoted here proposes a solution or alternative to what is in place and which the Supreme Court finds legally proper.Their quotes/claims that millions are unjustly treated belies the indisputable fact that over 11 million people now have health coverage, something impossible to possess before the ACA came into being.

    Republicans have railed against ACA since its inception, trumpeting a claim they will provide a better way. Something, by the way, they have failed or are unwilling to expose to the light of day.

  • Jack Comstock

    This ruling is a victory for healthcare being seen as a right instead of a privilege. Too bad our governor and other elected GOP right wing extremists in our state still think healthcare should be reserved for the privileged few. Unfortunately, there are still thousands in our state who could have health insurance if only these extremists would allow the expansion of medicare, but the chances of them doing anything to help anybody but the privileged few is pretty much non-existent. Our state is fully controlled by right wing extremists who continue to bamboozle people with half-truths and flat out lies to keep the people misinformed to keep getting themselves elected and re-elected.

  • Kevin444

    The truth is that the ACA is a joke. Anyone who works for a living knows this. It HAS NOT decreased the cost of health and it IS NOT affordable. Look around. The costs are rising for the majority while this is benefitting a few. The cost of an affordable health for me and my family is $10,000 per year; this means I must pay $10,000 a year (in premiums and deductibles) before I receive one penny in benefits. It is basically like having no health insurance and paying for everything myself. Except I am out $7,000 in premiums for services I never received. And yet, the insurance company is continuing to raise premiums and deductibles. This is not affordable health care!!! As far as I can tell, the only ones favoring this are the ones who are getting something for nothing, and that is not the majority of people.

    • J.G

      Have you or your family been ill. You will appreciate it when you are. The blame games need to stop. We all need to look closely at how this came about. Do not be fooled by others opinion. Find the real facts. It is out there. Your governor refused the subsidy to help offset cost. Who is fooling who. Get the real facts