Jan. 11--Two Republican lawmakers plan to continue to battle the national health care law with legislation designed to stop it from taking effect in Oklahoma.
Rep. Mike Ritze and Sen. Nathan Dahm, both of Broken Arrow, filed House Bill 1021 and Senate Bill 203 -- legislation they said would nullify the provisions of the federal health care law, commonly called Obamacare by opponents. The federal law, championed by President Barack Obama, a Democrat, was upheld last summer by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ritze in 2011 filed a measure that would have caused any official, agent or employee of the federal government who attempted to enforce the national health care law to face felony charges carrying up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. A House committee passed it, but the measure failed to advance.
Dahm, a freshman lawmaker elected last year, said health care operates best as an enterprise, not as a birthright.
"Depriving citizens of the right to make their own choices about health care runs contrary to American ideals," Dahm said. "If we want a health care system that is innovative, efficient and controls costs, we need to allow the free market to work."
Ritze said the federal health care law is unwelcome in Oklahoma.
Voters in November 2010 approved a constitutional amendment with the intent to prevent many of the federal health care reforms from affecting Oklahoma, such as making a person or an employer participate in a health care system, or preventing people from paying for treatment directly or buying private health insurance. State Question 756 got 64.7 percent of the vote.
"Oklahomans have clearly indicated that they would prefer a different approach to health care than the federal law offers," Ritze said. "I think we have the tools to improve the health care system in Oklahoma without involvement from the federal government."
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