A federal court judge has agreed to let Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt move ahead with part of a legal effort to fight off the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
U.S. District Judge Ronald White said Pruitt lacks legal standing to sue over three of the five allegations he made in his complaint.
But Oklahoma does seem to have standing to sue over any harm PPACA might do to the state as an employer, White said in a ruling on the case State of Oklahoma vs. Sebelius et al.
Oklahoma also could end up with standing to sue for "alternative" relief if the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Treasury Department argue that a federally run health insurance exchange operating in Oklahoma is legally the same as a state-based PPACA exchange, White said.
White threw out three allegations:
- An argument that Congress lacks the constitutional authority to make employers offer a minimum level of health coverage.
- An argument that the Internal Revenue Service lacks the authority to declare that a federally run PPACA exchange comes under the same rules as a state-based exchange.
- An argument that the state can challenge the IRS federal exchange regulation under the federal Administrative Procedure Act.
White said the pleading standards that apply to the ruling on standing to sue are "extremely lenient."
At this stage, "the court must accept as true all material allegations of the complaint, and must construe the complaint in favor of the complaining party," White said.
Pruitt put out a statement welcoming the ruling, and said he hopes to keep the IRS from trying to apply the same PPACA rules to state-based exchanges and federal ones.
Pruitt and other PPACA opponents have argued that PPACA contains no provision giving the federally run exchanges the right to offer consumers the new PPACA health insurance tax credits.
Obama administration officials were not immediately available to comment on the ruling.