By Patrick B. McGuigan | CapitolBeatOK
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s political leadership responded negatively Thursday to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Gov. Mary Fallin said she did not plan to call a special session to deal with the decision’s impact on state policy, but added a special session “is always a possibility.”
In response to a question from CapitolBeatOK, Fallin said she and other governors believe “we can provide solutions better than the federal law.” Fallin said state leaders disagree “that one size fits all” in health care policy.
Fallin described herself as uncertain about the meaning of the court’s mixed ruling, which in a 7-2 vote found the state Medicaid spending mandate unconstitutional even as the court upheld the individual mandate to purchase or secure health insurance. Chief Justice John Roberts colorfully described the Medicaid spending mandate as a gun held to the heads of American states.
Fallin estimated “Obamacare will bring a half-billion dollars in new costs” to Oklahoma. She said she and legislators will need to “see how the pieces of the puzzle fit together” in the ruling.
Fallin said she did not think the court’s decision yields good public policy, and that the federal law does not address better access, better quality and other needed reforms in the nation’s health care system.
The Republican governor said at least the court “clarified that ObamaCare is a tax on Americans.” Fallin said she and her legal advisers are studying the 100-page majority opinion to “see what it means.”
The Sooner State’s chief executive said she is glad there is an election in November, giving Oklahomans “a chance to express how they feel” about the federal law.
Fallin expressed no regrets for the 2011 decision she and other state leaders made to avoid creation of a health exchange, as required in the federal law.
Pressed as to whether or not it was a mistake to “wait and see” on the lawsuit brought by a majority of the nation’s state attorneys general, Fallin said it was not an error. She said the mixed nature of the ruling ratified the inclination to wait for clarity in what would withstand judicial scrutiny.
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