House Passes Bill to Block Care Act in Oklahoma

By Krehbiel, Randy | Tulsa World (Tulsa, OK), March 14, 2013 | Go to article overview

House Passes Bill to Block Care Act in Oklahoma


Krehbiel, Randy, Tulsa World (Tulsa, OK)


Read the Tulsa World continuing coverage of the health care law.

OKLAHOMA CITY - A bill that was more notable for the rhetoric it has generated than its actual final content brought out the Bibles, law books, constitutions and Founding Fathers quotes in the Oklahoma House of Representatives on Wednesday.

House Bill 1021, by Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, would declare the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - commonly known as Obamacare - unconstitutional and would require the Legislature to do everything possible to block its implementation in Oklahoma.

But more controversial language that would have made it a felony for an individual to enforce or assist in compliance with the federal health-care law was stripped out in committee, leaving no penalties or enforcement mechanism.

"This is a political statement," Ritze said when pressed for an explanation of the practical effects of his bill, which passed the House by a 72-20 vote.

HB 1021 says the Affordable Care Act's provisions are "not authorized by the Constitution of the United States and violate its true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers, and are hereby declared to be invalid in the State of Oklahoma, shall not be recognized by this state, are specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state."

It goes on to say it is "the duty of the Legislature of this state to adopt and enact any and all measures as may be necessary to prevent the enforcement of the 'Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act' and the 'Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010' (which amended the Affordable Care Act) within the limits of this state."

Ritze quoted extensively from the state and federal constitutions and the writings of America's founders in arguing that the ACA violates the U.S. Constitution regardless of a Supreme Court decision to the contrary.

"The courts and Congress have gotten a lot of things wrong," said Ritze, citing several Supreme Court decisions he said were in error. Those included Marbury v. Madison, the 1803 case that established the principle of judicial review, and the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which narrowly defined federal authority to regulate slavery.

Ritze's arguments are in line with the nullification movement, the idea that states have the right to ignore federal laws they deem unconstitutional. Most legal scholars consider the issue long decided as invalid, but some conservative commentators have resurrected it.

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