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Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman released the following statement Monday in response to Governor Mary Fallin’s announcement that Oklahoma will not engage in the formation of a state-based healthcare exchange or pursue an expansion of Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:
“Oklahomans simply do not want anything to do with Obamacare, and Senate Republicans stand firmly with Governor Fallin in rejecting it,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. “We want real, conservative solutions to the rising cost of healthcare—we want to make care more accessible, more affordable, and easier to obtain. I continue to believe Obamacare will fall short of accomplishing these goals—but it will certainly accomplish one of President Obama’s goals: to grow government and redefine its size, scope, and reach into the lives of our fellow Oklahomans.
“Senate Republicans have welcomed conservative solutions, but a state-run exchange, one that is ‘compliant’ with Obamacare’s mandates and supervised by Washington bureaucrats, would be ‘state-run’ in name only. On behalf of the Senate Republican caucus, I want to commend Governor Fallin for recognizing that the hard-earned tax dollars of Oklahomans should not go toward another new government program in the form of a vehicle for implementing a law our citizens have soundly, firmly, and unquestionably rejected.
“Moreover, Senate Republicans stand with Governor Fallin in rejecting President Obama’s expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. We can’t afford it—plain and simple—and it will do more harm than good in the long run by shifting unsustainable, massive costs to the states. If you believe, as most Oklahomans do, that the federal government simply can’t help itself from driving the car at full speed off a fiscal cliff, you must treat any Obama Administration promise to keep up their end of a bargain with a healthy dose of Reaganesque skepticism.
“We cannot support making Oklahoma more reliant on federal dollars, nor can we support growing our $16 trillion national debt to fund an unsustainable entitlement expansion. Our caucus stands united in this. We are unified, as well, in our support for Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s continued court challenge of Obamacare. We believe the fight against Obamacare is a 12-round match—we still have several rounds to go, as General Pruitt’s lawsuit is founded on different Constitutional questions than the already decided legal challenges—and Senate Republicans are committed to ‘going the distance’ on behalf of Oklahomans.
“But, it isn’t enough to reject Obamacare—we know the cost of healthcare is rising, and we know Oklahoma faces unique challenges in public health. For this reason, Senate Republicans remain committed to truly state-based ideas and common-sense, conservative solutions. We will continue to look at reforms to Medicaid and continue to explore avenues to deliver affordable coverage to every Oklahoman regardless of individual circumstances.”