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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Healthcare

In 2010, the Democrat-controlled Congress and President Barack Obama passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Not only was the legislation not geared at protecting patients, but, according to the Congressional Budget Office, it is extremely unaffordable. Unlike this unworkable law, I support true, fundamental healthcare reform that expands access to healthcare and increases affordability without sacrificing quality. To that end, in 2017, I joined with House Republicans in voting to pass the American Health Care Act, or AHCA, a comprehensive proposal to roll back onerous Obamacare regulations, reduce insurance premiums, and improve the health care system for all Americans.   
 

PPACA or "Obamacare"

PPACA is a trillion dollar government takeover of our healthcare system paid for by higher taxes on small businesses and deep cuts to Medicare. Unfortunately, it has created a system that limits a patient's right to choose what doctor they see and even what type of care they receive. It hurts small businesses, senior citizens and anyone who was happy with their current health coverage. Obamacare has imposed a massive and confusing bureaucracy into an already bureaucratic system by adding numerous additional offices, bureaus, commissions and programs above and beyond the entitlement expansions.
 

Republican Reforms

Recognizing the flaws in this legislation, in March 2017 the House passed the AHCA. I was proud to support this legislation because it would repeal some of the more onerous provisions of the PPACA. The AHCA would preserve the ability for young Americans to continue coverage on their parents’ plans until age 26, and would preserve the current ban on denying policies to people with pre-existing conditions. Importantly, the bill would allow for a market-based system to give consumers more choice, give states the authority to regulate Medicaid to fit the needs of the states, nullify the burdensome individual and employer mandates from the ACA, and would introduce new tax credits to provide more flexibility for families to purchase health insurance that suits their needs. The bill includes additional funding to support insurance markets for high-cost individuals and for people with pre-existing conditions.
 

Republican Alternative

Instead of a massive government takeover of our healthcare system, a number of steps can be taken to make quality health care coverage affordable and accessible for all Americans, ensure that medical decisions are made by patients and their doctors—not bureaucrats—and give all Americans the freedom to choose a health plan that best meets their needs. Indeed, Congress has already passed more than 70 changes to the PPACA into law, but more is left to be done. These additional changes include, among others:
 
  • Comprehensive Tort Reform: Because no cap exists on damages, doctors run unnecessary and costly tests out of fear that they will be sued for malpractice. These extra tests, along with the rising cost of medical malpractice insurance serve to increase to cost to provide healthcare across the entire spectrum. I support legislation that would limit non-economic and punitive damages, except in the case where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that a person acted with malicious intent or deliberately failed to avoid unnecessary injury.
  • Increased Competition: I believe that allowing insurance providers to compete for business across state lines leads to lower healthcare costs and increased quality. Unfortunately, by segmenting the population into 50 different pools, premiums will be higher.
  • Prevent Waste, Fraud and Abuse: Waste, fraud and abuse cost taxpayers billions of dollars every year. By providing the resources necessary to combat waste, fraud and abuse, we can lower the cost of healthcare for everyone.
  • Association Health Plans: One of the largest obstacles for many small businesses is the cost of health insurance. By allowing states, small businesses, associations and other organizations to band together, health insurance can be offered at a lower cost.

More on Healthcare

September 15, 2019 News Stories
When Congressman Tom Cole, R-Moore, stood in front of a pavilion filled with Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation employees in August, he offered two simple messages.
August 28, 2019 Weekly Columns

Last week brought some significant news for Oklahoma that affirmed the tremendous talent and potential that exists in our state’s medical and research communities. Specifically, I was honored to have a part in applauding Oklahoma based researchers who are leading the way at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF), as recognized by two competitive federal grants that were recently awarded.  

August 23, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – The Department of Health and Human Services announced that Oklahoma has earned two grants from the Medical Student Education Program, totaling $9.25 million over four years.
August 19, 2019 Press Release
Oklahoma City – Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) joined leaders from OMRF today to announce two major federal grants totaling as much as $48 million to OMRF. The National Institutes of Health awarded the grants, which will fund research on autoimmune diseases and human exposure to anthrax.
July 9, 2019 Weekly Columns

Regardless of political points of view, most Americans can agree that good stewardship of the earth and its precious resources is important. And I am always encouraged by the special efforts made by individuals, families and communities to do their part today to ensure a fruitful and beautiful world for generations to come.

June 24, 2019 Weekly Columns

June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, which marks an important time to talk about the widespread challenges facing our society due to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Indeed, these mysterious diseases have impacted all of us, whether we have had a family member or a friend suffer and tragically pass away as a result. My family understands firsthand how exceedingly difficult it is to watch someone you love helplessly deteriorate because of dementia.

May 8, 2019 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Full Committee met to consider the fiscal year 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee’s appropriations bill.
May 7, 2019 Weekly Columns

Last week, the House Rules Committee held the first ever legislative hearing on the Democrats’ so-called Medicare for All proposal. Both the inaugural forum and the legislation itself reveal a lot about the Democratic majority’s priorities in the U.S. House of Representatives.

April 16, 2019 Weekly Columns
It’s now been more than 100 days since Democrats have held the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. And from day one, House Democrats have misused that majority by playing political games, casting show votes and embracing radical ideas—instead of working in a bipartisan manner to craft legislation that can realistically become law in divided government.
November 25, 2018 Weekly Columns
Like many others across the country, my family knows the toll that Alzheimer's disease takes on those living with it and those caring for them. Marked at first by forgetfulness, the disease at its worst eventually causes personalities to disappear and erases recognition of people and life's events from memory.

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