OKLAHOMA CITY (Legal Newsline) -- Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, in a court filing this week, said President Barack Obama's decision to delay the implementation of his health care law's employer mandate only helps the state's case against the law.

"Oklahoma's position has been clear from the beginning that the 'large-employer mandate' not only violates the law when implemented in states without a state health care exchange, but cripples businesses with burdensome and onerous requirements and penalties," Pruitt said Thursday.

The attorney general filed a response in federal court Wednesday.

"Until now, the Obama Administration has argued in court that the mandate is uncomplicated and easy, but its sudden reversal and delay of the mandate, clearly demonstrates acknowledgement that the 'large-employer mandate' is in fact a complex, job-killing and harmful mandate on businesses," Pruitt said.

"Our fight continues on behalf of Oklahoma citizens to confront the administration when it seeks to overreach its authority and circumvent the law."

Earlier this month, the federal government announced a one-year delay in implementation of the large employer tax due to the requirements' "complexity" and the need to "simplify" the hundreds of pages of reporting and coverage requirements for employers.

Now, implementation of the mandate will be postponed until 2015, after the midterm elections.

Oklahoma has argued the "burdensome" requirements for large employers give the state standing to bring its lawsuit against Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The state's lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, argues that an IRS rule punishes "large employers," including local government, with millions of dollars in tax penalties in states with federal health care exchanges, which is not allowed under the act.

The rule also violates the Administrative Procedures Act, the complaint states.

Oklahoma's original lawsuit was filed in January 2011.

Pruitt filed an amended complaint to raise issues related to the law's implementation in September, following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last June.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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