Claremore Daily Progress

Our View

December 4, 2012

Rejecting federal health care bill right thing

OKLAHOMA CITY — This past month, I announced Oklahoma would not implement two key components of President Obama’s health care law: the creation of a health insurance exchange and the expansion of Medicaid. I’m writing this month to let you know why that decision is in the best interests of Oklahoma taxpayers and families.

 For several months, my staff and I have worked with other lawmakers, Oklahoma stakeholders and health care experts across the country to determine the best course of action for Oklahoma in regards to both a possible health insurance exchange and the potential expansion of Medicaid.
 Our priority has been to ascertain what can be done to increase quality and access to health care, contain costs, and do so without placing an undue burden on taxpayers or the state. As I have stated many times before, it is my firm belief that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) fails to further these goals, and will in fact decrease the quality of health care across the United States while contributing to the nation’s growing deficit crisis.
 Despite my ongoing opposition to the federal health care law, however, the state of Oklahoma found itself legally obligated to either build an exchange that is PPACA compliant and approved by the Obama Administration, or to default to an exchange run by the federal government. This choice was forced on the people of Oklahoma by the Obama Administration in spite of the fact that voters have overwhelmingly expressed their opposition to the federal health care law time and time again.
After careful consideration, I decided last month that Oklahoma would not pursue the creation of its own health insurance exchange. As I said at the time, any exchange that is PPACA compliant will necessarily be ‘state-run’ in name only and would require Oklahoma resources, staff and tax dollars to implement. It does not benefit Oklahoma taxpayers to actively support and fund a new government program that would ultimately be under the control of the federal government and that is opposed by a clear majority of Oklahomans. Furthermore, the creation of such an exchange would further the implementation of a law that threatens to erode both the quality of American health care and the fiscal stability of the nation.

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