A Neglected Front in the Obamacare Wars

by Ramesh Ponnuru

The attorney general of Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit that, if successful, would cripple Obamacare by challenging the lawless way the Obama administration is implementing it. (Implementing it lawfully, that is, would cripple it.) Most states have not created exchanges, and in those states the law as written does not authorize the administration to offer tax credits–and, because of that, limits its ability to impose its penalties on employers and individuals. As far as I can tell, there would be no downside for conservative attorneys general to launch their own lawsuits–or for Republican politicians at the state and federal level to support them, whether by filing briefs or speaking on their behalf.

Republican governors who say they oppose Obamacare even though they have taken some of the Medicaid money it offers–governors like Rick Scott, Chris Christie, and John Kasich–should be especially eager to get on board this lawsuit. These governors have not set up exchanges. They can protect their citizens and businesses from Obamacare penalties through the suit.

I’m persuaded that the merits of the case are on the side of Oklahoma. I suspect, though, that courts will have an easier time seeing it that way if politicians help to create a sense that it is a respectable position and not something coming out of left field.

Conservative voters who want to see action against Obamacare should ask their elected officials to weigh in on this.