Oklahoma AG: State's Suit Could Undo Obamacare

Image: Oklahoma AG: State's Suit Could Undo Obamacare Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

Friday, 06 Dec 2013 07:18 AM

By Greg Richter

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Oklahoma's lawsuit to prevent Obamacare penalties in states that haven't set up their own health insurance exchanges is gaining momentum as two other states have filed similar suits.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt argues that the original law applied only to state exchanges. But when 34 states refused to set up exchanges, the IRS decided to use the same noncompliance penalties in those states.

Political pundit Dick Morris praised the strategy in October, asking, "Why didn't anyone else think of it?"

Morris and Pruitt say a favorable ruling would undo the entire law.

"If there's no state healthcare exchanges, there are no subsidies. And if there are no subsidies there are no penalties," Pruitt said Thursday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity."

Virginia and Indiana have filed similar suits, which Pruitt welcomes.

Pruitt spokesman Aaron Cooper told The Oklahoman on Wednesday, that having multiple suits in different circuits is good for several reasons.

"First, the Obama administration has historically taken a narrow view of what a loss in a single circuit means. Often, the administration views such losses as just binding them in that particular circuit but not elsewhere," Cooper said.

"A legal win in multiple circuits ensures the victory will have a broader effect. Similarly, wins before multiple judges serves to legitimize the ruling," he said.

"Finally, having challenges in multiple circuits can help even if one set of plaintiffs loses because its sets up a 'circuit split' that would all but ensure the Supreme Court reviews the case."

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