AGs oppose insurance mandate; prepare to challenge in court
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Scott Pruitt joined attorneys general from Nebraska, Texas, Maine and six other states in a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, expressing “strong opposition” to an upcoming health insurance mandate that requires religious employers to provide coverage for services such as sterilization that contradict their religious beliefs.
The letter, sent to Secretary Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, cites issues with the mandate’s policy implications, potential consequences for the religious employers and its constitutional conflict with freedoms of religion, speech and association as provided under the First Amendment.
“Not only is the proposed contraceptive coverage mandate for religious employers bad policy, it is unconstitutional,” the AGs wrote. “We believe it represents an impermissible violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment virtually unparalleled in American history.”
Attorney General Pruitt and the other AGs said they plan to “vigorously” challenge the unconstitutional mandate in court if not withdrawn by the federal government.
“Any regulation that requires a religious group to violate their lawful beliefs and practices goes directly against the ideals that our Founding Fathers set in place to protect Americans from an overbearing and intrusive government,” Pruitt said. “It conflicts with the most basic elements of freedom provided to all Americans to practice their lawful religion wherever, whenever and however they choose. For that reason, we have asked Secretary Sebelius to not put this regulation into action.”
For a copy of the attorneys general letter, go online to www.oag.ok.gov.