OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt late Tuesday asked a federal judge in Muskogee to rule in favor of the state in Oklahoma’s legal challenge of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare].
“The IRS is unlawfully changing the Affordable Care Act without going through Congress. The agency is ignoring the language of the ACA in order to ‘fix’ the law,” General Pruitt said. “That’s not what our Constitution allows: Congress passes laws and the executive branch administers them. Oklahoma’s lawsuit is about fighting the administration’s attempt to ‘fix’ the health care law through executive fiat.”
On Tuesday, the Attorney General filed a motion for summary judgment in the federal district court in Muskogee. The motion presents the facts of Oklahoma’s case and asks the judge to rule in favor of the state.
The State of Oklahoma is challenging an IRS rule regarding the assessment of tax penalties on “large employers,” including local and state governments. The IRS is attempting to assess “large employer” penalties in states – like Oklahoma – that did not establish state health care exchanges, which contradicts the language of the ACA. The language of the ACA states tax penalties are only to be assessed in states that set up state-based health care exchanges.
“The ACA, as passed by Congress, gave Oklahoma and other states a choice in the implementation of the health care law. But the IRS is trying to take that choice away through this unlawful rule,” General Pruitt said. “The administration miscalculated how many states would support this law and set up their own health care exchanges. So the administration turned to the IRS to ‘fix’ the law by pushing through rules Congress never passed.”
If the federal judge rules in favor of the state’s motion for summary judgment, the IRS would not be allowed to issue tax penalties on “large employers” for not offering ACA complaint health insurance.
Oklahoma’s original lawsuit was filed in January 2011. In September, following the U.S. Supreme Court decision, General Pruitt filed an amended complaint to raise issues related to the law’s implementation.