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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

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.
June 23, 2016 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2577, the conference report aimed at funding Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies, as well as the Zika Response and Preparedness Act. This legislation would fund continuing military infrastructure projects and programs, and furthermore would include funding for confronting the Zika virus through Fiscal Year 2017.

June 17, 2016 Weekly Columns

More than six years after Obamacare was signed into law and forced upon the American people, the outlook for the law looks even bleaker than before. Throughout its implementation, millions of Americans have directly felt the negative consequences of the president’s unworkable law through lost coverage, unfair mandates and higher premiums. In fact, the already ridiculous premiums resulting from Obamacare are expected to see another dramatic increase in the coming year.   
 

June 6, 2016 Weekly Columns

Like many others across the United States, my family understands firsthand the toll that Alzheimer’s disease takes on those suffering with it and on their caregivers. What starts out as slight memory loss eventually leads to disappearing personalities and then no recollection of the people and memories that once filled an individual’s life. I remember how painful it was to see that happen to my father during the last several years of his life. Given my experience, I remain committed to helping find solutions to defeat the disease—for patients, caregivers and the entire country.

June 1, 2016 Weekly Columns
Rest assured. The Zika emergency response will be funded, and immediate needs are already being funded. The issue now is whether the funding will be paid for or irresponsibly added to the national credit card. That’s where Republicans disagree with Democrats and the administration.
May 26, 2016 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after he was appointed by Speaker Paul Ryan to serve on a bipartisan conference committee. Cole will be one of eight House Republican lawmakers tasked with finalizing comprehensive legislation to confront Zika and prevent its spread.
May 25, 2016 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives this week passed H.R. 897, the Zika Vector Control Act.

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