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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma


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

March 3, 2011 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House approved H.R. 4 – Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act of 2011. The legislation repeals a burdensome provision of Obamacare requiring small businesses and rental property owners to file an IRS Form-1099 for any vendor with which they have more than $600 in yearly transactions. The bill reduces the deficit by $166 million in the first 10 years, cuts federal spending by $20 billion over ten years and reduces taxes by $19.7 billion:

January 19, 2011 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) today released the following statement after voting in favor of H.R. 2 - Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act:

December 23, 2010 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following remarks on the House floor in support of H.R. 847, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which was approved Wednesday by the House of Representatives.

"Mr. Speaker, long before New York City's First Responders rushed to save their fellow Americans in the fire and horror of 9/11, they came to help the people of Oklahoma City deal with the death and destruction stemming from the terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. 

April 26, 2010 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of the Oklahoma Delegation reacted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) analysis that the recently passed health care legislation will result in higher premiums, lower reimbursement rates, and will force many Americans from their current health care plan breaking President Obama’s promise of ‘if you like it, you can keep it.’ 

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole

March 21, 2010 Press Release

U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4) issued the following statement today after House Democrats passed H.R. 4872, Reconciliation Act of 2010, and H.R. 3590, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

"Along with an overwhelming majority of Oklahomans, I strongly oppose the government takeover of health care and the arrogant way it's been forced upon the American people.  This deeply flawed legislation raises taxes, expands government control and kills job creation, but it fails to cut health care costs or meaningfully reform the insurance system.

January 25, 2010 Press Release

WASHINGTON -  Oklahoma’s House Delegation is urging Speaker Pelosi to exclude any unfunded federal mandates from the final health care bill.  In a letter to the Speaker, the House Delegation said the unfunded Medicaid mandates in the House-passed bill would have a crippling effect on the state of Oklahoma.  “As a delegation, we are deeply concerned this mandate would force drastic funding cuts for valuable state programs and significantly deteriorate the choice and quality of Oklahomans’ health care programs,” they wrote.

January 6, 2010 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) issued the following statement today supporting C-SPAN's request to air coverage of the health care reform negotiations.

November 7, 2009 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4) issued the following statement after House Democrats passed an unprecedented, government run health care plan, H.R. 3962.

November 4, 2009 Press Release


WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Tom Cole recently sent a letter to Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee and Oklahoma House Speaker Chris Benge asking them to assess the impact on the state of Oklahoma if Speaker Pelosi's health care bill, H.R. 3962, passes.  The bill is expected to be considered late this week.

October 29, 2009 Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) provided the following remarks after House Democrats revealed their latest health care proposal earlier today.