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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

October 10, 2016 Weekly Columns
When the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was passed in the spring of 2010 it was done so with no Republican votes. Since then, the Republican controlled House of Representatives has voted more than sixty times to repeal the law.
August 22, 2016 Weekly Columns
When Obamacare was created, it was sold to the American people as a new plan to both lower health costs and expand access. Six years later, many Americans have faced and continue to face outrageous premiums and deductibles.  Instead of expanding competition and access, the recent announcement that Aetna would be withdrawing from Obamacare on the heels of United’s announcement that they would also be withdrawing from the exchanges should force us to reevaluate whether, in fact, Obamacare is everything it was promised, particularly from a financial perspective.
 
August 1, 2016 Weekly Columns
Since 2010, the health of America has been at the mercy of a flawed, disruptive system. The Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as "Obamacare," has created more problems than the solutions that it had promised. Too many Americans have suffered from skyrocketing healthcare costs - from rising premiums and deductibles, to outrageous hospital visit costs and home care costs. Moreover, the consequences of funding and logistics have been a nightmare for the American taxpayer.
July 29, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the state of Florida confirmed that the four diagnosed cases of the Zika virus were caused by domestic mosquitos. The House of Representatives has provided more than $1.1 billion for the Zika response efforts, but it has yet to pass in the Senate.
 
July 18, 2016 Weekly Columns
As the summer months begin, we are reminded once more that the fight against the Zika virus is not over.  The fear of Zika breaching our shores has many Americans worried that partisan gridlock will prevent the government from taking the necessary steps to aggressively fight the potentially rapid spread of this horrible disease.
 
July 15, 2016 Press Release

Washington, D.C. - House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, along with Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran and other senior members of the House and Senate committees, today sent a joint letter to President Obama urging White House action on Zika funding.

July 15, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the Senate failed to reconsider the Zika Conference Report, the legislation targeted at funding the Zika virus response efforts. The conference report had previously failed to pass in the Senate on its first attempt.
 
July 14, 2016 Press Release
Washington, D.C. - The House Appropriations Committee today approved the draft fiscal year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS) funding bill. The legislation includes funding for programs within the Department of Labor, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education, and other related agencies.
 
July 11, 2016 News Stories
With Congress remains deadlocked over funding to fight the Zika virus, senior GOP leaders are working to head off yet another big public health funding fight.
July 8, 2016 News Stories
Following in their Senate colleagues’ footsteps, a House subcommittee signed off on a budget increase for the National Institutes of Health Thursday.

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