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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

November 2, 2018 Weekly Columns

In too many communities across the nation, opioid addiction has destroyed and claimed lives, causing unexpected grief and loss for families. Without question, opioid abuse is a very real and rampant health crisis and one that is impacting individuals from all walks of life. In response to this widespread problem, I am encouraged that Congress offered solutions to combat the issue through a comprehensive piece of legislation recently signed into law by the president.  

July 24, 2017 Weekly Columns
This past week, as the House Appropriations Committee considered all twelve bills to fund the government, one of the more significant funding measures was passed. The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee is responsible for funding some of our government’s most vital agencies that reflect the things we place value on as a society – our health, our jobs and our education.
May 23, 2017 News Stories

Vox - Julia Belluz

The Republican leadership in Congress wants to cut spending on public health and repeal Obamacare.

Yet when it comes to medical research, they’re willing to throw down extra — even when President Trump wants to cut back.

In the administration’s first comprehensive budget proposal, out today, Trump is expected to call for a $5.8 billion trimming of the National Institutes of Health’s budget as part of an effort to curtail spending while increasing America’s already gigantic defense budget and expanding tax cuts.

May 22, 2017 Weekly Columns

For nearly eight years Republicans have made repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, one of the central tenets of their campaign. President Trump also made repealing the ACA central to his campaign. During that time, Democrats lost over 900 state legislative seats, 12 governors, 69 U.S. House seats, 13 senate seats and the White House. The recent passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was the first step in making good on that promise.

May 4, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), by a vote of 217-213.
 
March 28, 2017 Speech

 

March 27, 2017 Weekly Columns
Last week, Congress came very close to delivering on our promise to repeal and replace Obama Care. For the past seven years, Americans have been burdened by this so-called Affordable Care Act, which caused premiums and deductibles to increase, while choices and providers dwindled. I, along with many of my colleagues in the House, have made repealing this law and replacing it with something that genuinely works, amongst our highest priorities.
 

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