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Federal Government Will Enforce Healthcare Law In Oklahoma

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File photo. File photo.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Oklahoma's insurance commissioner said he's not going to enforce the federal health care law, and the feds say that's okay--they'll do it instead.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak said, although he strongly opposes what he calls "Obamacare," in this case, he's not trying to stop it, just doing what state law requires of him.

Read the letter to Oklahoma insurers

Read the letter from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, the expectation was that individual states would pass legislation allowing state officials to enforce the federal law. In Oklahoma, the legislature hasn't done that, so the state's top insurance regulator said he doesn't have the authority to tell health insurers what they should do with the new law.

"I only have the authority, by state constitution, to enforce Oklahoma law," Do ad said.

He said the legislative opposition won't stop the healthcare law from taking effect, but it will create an extra burden for insurance companies.

"No, it means there will be dual regulation on health insurers in the state of Oklahoma, related to federal mandates versus state mandates," Doak said. "That could be additional costs to health insurers in Oklahoma, which is part of the compounding factor that is making Obamacare unaffordable."

3/21/2013 Related Story: Federal Government To Enforce 'Obamacare' Regulation In Oklahoma

The federal Department of Health and Human Services is telling insurance companies to deal with them on regulations because, "The State of Oklahoma has not fully incorporated the market reforms of the Affordable Care Act into state law, and otherwise lacks authority to enforce these requirements."

Laura Brookins, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Association of Health Plans said having two regulators will be expensive.

"Unfortunately for everyone, this dual oversight process will result in increased costs for all Oklahoma Health Plans," Brookins said.

The full implementation of the Affordable Care Act starts next January.

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