Okla. AG-elect plotting health care challenge

Jessica M. Karmasek Dec. 15, 2010, 1:17pm


OKLAHOMA CITY (Legal Newsline) - Oklahoma Attorney General-elect Scott Pruitt, in light of a federal judge's decision to side with Virginia in its case against federal health care reform, says he still plans to take action against the reform.

Pruitt, in an interview on a Tulsa news talk radio show on Tuesday, said he still hasn't decided to join one of the other lawsuits filed against the law or file a separate suit.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson, on Monday, granted Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's motion for summary judgment. Hudson ruled that including the mandate, which imposes a $695 annual penalty for individuals who do not purchase health insurance, exceeded Congress' power.

Virginia argued that requiring individuals to purchase health insurance or face a monetary penalty violates the state's Healthcare Freedom Act.

The federal judge also ruled that the annual penalty is not considered a tax, as argued by the federal government.

Pruitt said it was "a great day" for the U.S. Constitution and Virginia residents.

"A government big enough to force people to buy insurance is big enough to make us do anything," Pruitt told the radio show.

Pruitt isn't the only incoming attorney general looking to join or file its own lawsuit against President Barack Obama's health care package.

Kansas Attorney General-elect Derek Schmidt, a Republican, said last month he expects to bring the state in the multi-state lawsuit soon after he takes office.

Also last month, Wisconsin Gov.-elect Scott Walker gave Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen the green light to join the federal lawsuit. Van Hollen had requested permission to join the suit in the spring but was denied by state officials, most of which were Democrats, at the time.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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