OK Republicans Promise Health Care Reform Legal Challenge

April 20, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Oklahoma GOP state legislative leaders have announced they will file a lawsuit challenging the new health care reform law.

Reuters reported that House Speaker Chris Benge and Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, both Republicans, said they plan to sue the U.S. Congress, president, and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services over the massive measure mandating a series of changes in the U.S. health care system.The legislators announcement’ follows by several weeks word from Oklahoma state Attorney General Drew Edmondson, a Democrat,  who rebuffed the suggestion he should join with the 19 other states currently signed onto a federal court health reform challenge.

“Our concern is that the attorney general’s effort would be lackluster, at best. We have an obligation to our citizens to challenge this unconstitutional bill, which will lead to unprecedented control of a large portion of the U.S. economy,” Benge said in a statement, according to Reuters. “The high taxes required in the law will be a burden that we cannot afford.”

A resolution authorizing the legislative leaders to file the lawsuit and allowing Oklahoma residents to opt out of mandated health insurance is heading toward final passage.

There have been partisan conflicts in other states, with governors and attorneys general of opposite parties disagreeing on the litigation (see Arizona Nevada Governors Bypass AGs to Join Healthcare Suit).

The main challenge, filed March 23 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, claims the health reform bill is unconstitutional because it violates states rights and will force states to spend money they do not have (see Georgia Joins States Challenging Health Reform Bill).

Separately, Virginia has filed a lawsuit, arguing the new law’s requirements that most Americans buy health insurance clash with a state law that exempts Virginians from federal fines to be imposed for not owning health insurance.