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Enforcing the law

Gazette staff March 27th, 2013

Kids will be kids, as they say, but even the most adorable youngsters eventually need to learn how to eat with utensils and function without pooping themselves. That seems to be the subtext behind the Obama administration’s admonition to Oklahoma regarding the notion that somehow the redder-than-red state won’t have to abide by that mean ol’ Affordable Care Act.

Credit: Brad Gregg

Federal officials on March 15 put state Insurance Commissioner John Doak on notice that a second level of health insurance regulation, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, will ensure enforcement of the ACA in Oklahoma. The move comes after Doak informed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that the state Insurance Department has no authority to enforce federal statutes.

Chicken-Fried News can’t help but wonder if that ostensible lack of authority is all the more lacking when the law in question is — cue the ominous music — Obamacare.

Gary Cohen, director of the federal Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, has indicated the feds will also need to guarantee ACA enforcement in Missouri, Texas and Wyoming.

His agency might have its work cut out for it in the Sooner State. Legislation to nullify Obamacare passed the House and is awaiting Senate action. Its author, Rep. Mike Ritze, R-Broken Arrow, insists the measure will guard against “federal overreach.”

Not surprisingly, Ritze gives Doak a solid attaboy for his opposition to Obamacare.

“Commissioner Doak is right to avoid using Oklahoma tax dollars to help implement a federal mandate that Oklahomans overwhelmingly reject,” Ritze said in a news release.

CFN doesn’t know if Ritze thinks a much better use of Oklahoma tax dollars was the insurance department spending $180,000 for police cars, pump-action shotguns and the like. A bill to curb such purchases passed the Senate and is now in the House. Be cause, we guess, sometimes even the most adorable youngster needs guidance.

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