July 12--OKLAHOMA CITY -- Around 300 people gathered at the state capitol Saturday to protest the Supreme Court's decision to allow The Affordable Care Act to stand.
Last week, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, decided the federal government has the authority to require citizens to purchase health insurance or pay a tax. The high court stipulated the states cannot be forced to expand Medicare. This was not a large crowd compared to some rallies held at the state capitol, but the event was organized on short notice.
One of the organizers, Jon Scolomiero of the Tenth Amendment Center, said he got to work putting this rally together on the evening of the Supreme Court decision June 21. The theme of the rally was nullification of Obamacare at the state level and repeal of Obamacare at the federal level.
Protesters do not want the state to implement the early stages of Obamacare in the form of health care exchanges.
Health care exchanges were a hot topic at the state capitol last session as lawmakers argued over taking money from the federal government to set up the framework for implementation of Obamacare, set to go into effect in 2014. Some lawmakers argued that failure by the state to take the federal exchanges meant the federal government, not Oklahoma, would determine how Obamacare would be implemented in the state.
Several lawmakers who opposed the federal exchanges attended the rally Saturday, including Rep. George Faught of Muskogee. Faught is a Republican congressional candidate in the second district. Faught said in the second district, the ratio of doctors to patients is 2.3 per 1,000. Faught said if doctors are going to be limited in their income due to the new law, the ratio of doctors to patients will become wider. Faught said some doctors have already stopped taking additional Medicare patients. Faught cautiously said Gov. Mary Fallin is taking a "wait and see approach" until after the election to take a firm stand on the issue.
Another lawmaker present was Rep. Dave Brumbaugh of Broken Arrow who said, "I don't think the public understands what this health care exchange is going to cost the state. The insurance companies are going to pass their expenses on to their insured customers in the administrative cost. Brumbaugh said he would vote for nullification next session, but the real answer to Obamacare is repeal at the federal level.
It was announced at the rally that Rep. Mike Ritze, Republican of Broken Arrow, will reintroduce a nullification bill in the house next session. Ritze submitted a nullification bill last session which was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee but never brought up for a vote on the house floor.
Dale Phillips is the owner of an Oklahoma City insurance company. Phillips, wearing a Ron Paul T-shirt, told the crowd he believes the purpose of Obamacare is to make health care so expensive that the
government will move toward a single-payer system. A single-payer system is when the government picks up the health care cost directly, as in Great Britain through a National Health care system. Under ObamaCare, citizens will be required to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. Phillips said that hundreds of small insurance companies have gone under in the last year due to early implementation of ObamaCare. Phillips said only "large multi-national" insurance companies will be able to stay in business in the future. He described this as "fascism."
Howard Houchen, a Republican State Senate candidate from Hugo, led a chant of "Push back! Push back! Push back!" as he turned toward the state capitol building. Houchen later said, "The purpose of man is to be free."
Dwane Crumbacher of Midwest City, who works as a defense contractor, said he came to the rally because he opposes ObamaCare, "I'm going to contact my legislators about health care exchanges, that they not be brought here (to Oklahoma) and that they pass nullification of ObamaCare."
Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel attended the rally. Yazel said as a retired United States Marine, he sometimes thinks he should have stayed here to fight the enemy.
On Monday, Texas governor Rick Perry announced that Texas would not implement ObamaCare.
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