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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 the president’s unworkable law, I support true, fundamental healthcare reform that expands access to healthcare and increases affordability without sacrificing quality. I have voted more than 60 times to repeal all or part of the flawed legislation and have supported a serious alternative offered by the Republican Study Committee. 

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.

Recognizing the flaws in this legislation, Congress has worked with the President to repeal some of the most onerous requirements originally included in Obamacare. For example, Congress repealed a mandate that would have required businesses to report to the IRS all of their transactions with vendors totaling $600 or more in a year. In addition, Congress passed the Protective Affordable Coverage for Employees (PACE) Act to protect businesses with 51-100 employees from ACA rules that would have led to premium increases of 18 percent. Since its enactment, more than 70 changes have been made to this flawed law, which underscores the need for its immediate repeal and replacement.

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. These 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

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.
 
March 24, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House decided to delay the vote on H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
 
“I am extremely disappointed that we missed this opportunity to dramatically improve healthcare for millions of Americans,” said Cole. “I was very much prepared to vote in favor of this measure, because I know Americans, especially Oklahomans, deserve better healthcare. Under this system, they had that opportunity.”
 
March 21, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he attended President Trump’s meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday morning.
 
March 13, 2017 Weekly Columns
In the past seven years, Congress has voted to repeal Obamacare more than 60 times. However, repeal was never successful due to obstructionists in the U.S. Senate and a certain veto by President Obama. With a new President and conservative leadership in Congress, repeal of Obamacare is now well within our reach.
 
March 6, 2017 Weekly Columns
President Trump was elected in no small degree based on the economic and national security anxieties facing millions of working class Americans. He correctly identified with, and gave voice to, their anger and their frustration. Consequently, the tone of his campaign and the early days of his presidency were not exactly upbeat in tone. However, his Joint Address to Congress last week was a sharp and welcome change.
January 10, 2017 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he was named Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. Cole served as the Chairman of the subcommittee during the 114th Congress.
 

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