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.
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.
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
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
Washington, D.C. - Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) provided strong remarks on the House Floor during the debate on the American Health Care Act, where he emphasized that Obamacare is a failed system and that the AHCA is an incredible opportunity to provide relief for Oklahomans.
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.
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.
January 9, 2017 Weekly Columns
Of all the policy disagreements between President Obama and Congressional Republicans, none have been as persistent or contentious as the debate over health care reform, and Obamacare specifically. So it comes as no surprise that the very first item on President-elect Trump’s agenda is the repeal of President Obama’s signature legislative “accomplishment.”
January 8, 2017 News Stories
Members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation have long railed against the Affordable Care Act. With a Republican in the White House on Jan. 20 and GOP majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, they will finally be able to help end the act, also known as Obamacare.