This is a novel way to resist Obamacare implementation at the state level, although I don’t know whether Oklahoma has a choice in the matter.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, which regulates health insurance policies in the state, will not participate in a federal effort to enforce the Affordable Care Act, the agency said Friday.
“It is unfortunate that health insurers are being forced into a system of dual regulation by the overreaching Obama administration,” Insurance Commissioner John Doak said in a statement. “My position on this has never wavered, and I welcome every opportunity to try to overturn Obamacare.”
Doak made his position known Friday in a letter to the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tasked with overseeing the implementation of state-run health care exchanges that are part of the new health care law.
Oklahoma is one of 11 states that has indicated it will not operate its own health care exchange nor partner with the federal government to set up an exchange.
The letter, sent to Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, states that the Oklahoma Insurance Department does not have the authority to enforce federal law.
“The Oklahoma Insurance Department regulates the health insurance policies sold in the state and responds to consumer questions and complaints. Our consumer assistance team receives over 30,000 phone calls and our website receives over 1,000,000 visits each year,” the letter said.
“We will continue to serve these consumers by adhering to our duties under the State Constitution and Statutes. The consumers are the ones who are going to bear the costs of these unnecessary federal regulatory burdens.”
Doak’s office issued a release further explaining his action:
In addition to adding new fees to health insurance products increasing prices both inside and outside the exchange, the ACA requires plans to add expensive and often unnecessary coverage benefits. These costs will impact young adults most severely due to the law’s requirement that older Americans pay no more than three times the premium of young adults. A survey of insurers by the American Action Forum found that average premiums for young, healthy adults may triple going into 2014.
This will be more of an inconvenience for the feds than a sabot in the machinery. But there are 10 other states that have refused to set up insurance exchanges and placing the burden of enforcement entirely on the feds may only force the CCIIO to hire additional workers to handle the extra work.