Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Key: ObamaCare - Alive and Well in Oklahoma?

ObamaCare: Alive and Well in Oklahoma?


The overwhelming passage of SQ 756 this past November, left Oklahomans thinking that our state opted out of Obamacare. Unfortunately, that would be wrong. Likewise, most Oklahomans probably think passage of SQ 756 sent a strong message to state officials that they opposed Obamacare and wanted no part of it. Unfortunately, that would also be wrong.

A cornerstone of Obamacare is the mandate directing all states establish a “health exchange” (HE). (Creative names for HE’s such as HUBS or Enterprise are being used to make them more palatable.) Without the establishment of HE’s Obamacare cannot be implemented. Legislative leaders and the Governor have been pushing to establish a HE and accept a $54 million federal grant. Recently, because of public pressure and opposition by some conservative legislators, the Governor reversed herself on the acceptance of the $54 million grant. Rejecting the federal money is good, but the worst part of the proposal, the HE, is still being pushed by the Governor and legislative leaders.

I believe this is the most important issue we face this year and possibly in a generation for three reasons. First, it establishes the cornerstone of Obamacare that makes it possible to move to a single payer system controlled by Washington. Second, it will fundamentally change our political system allowing the federal government total control over all health care. Thirdly, it further changes what we think the federal government’s legal role and authority is over us as individuals and states and indoctrinates a new generation to believe that the federal government is the final authority in all things.

I have been asked many times why the Governor and legislative leaders are pushing for complying with this mandate. They claim we must implement an HE or Washington will force it’s version on us. But this doesn’t make sense because we are creating the HE because of their mandate. Furthermore, Obamacare gives the federal government full authority to change anything a state establishes so there are no guarantees states can control the final outcome. Another reason given by the Governor and legislators is that “we need to have a seat at the table.” This accomplishes little to nothing when Washington controls the agenda and we effectively accede to that control. Also, they say this is the best we can do while lawsuits run their course.

But, once this system is in place, it will be practically impossible to undo the hundreds of new agencies and layers of bureaucracy. Milton Friedman once said, ’nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.’

Finally, it’s implied that the free market isn’t working and that the insurance industry hasn’t provided HE’s for consumers. The truth is the industry already does provide excellent options for consumers. Go online and you’ll find any insurance coverage you desire or just look in the yellow pages. Health care continually goes up primarily, because of government mandates and excessive regulation. Obamacare is a violation of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution and we should use our constitutional authority to prohibit it from being implemented in Oklahoma.

State Representative Charles Key (R-OKC) is the Chairman of the House Insurance Committee, and represents House District 90.

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