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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

May 23, 2016 Weekly Columns

Contrary to some of the overheated rhetoric coming out of the White House and the Democratic side of the aisle in Congress, the United States does not currently lack the resources to confront the Zika virus. While some have disingenuously suggested otherwise, the Administration already has money at its disposal right now to respond to the emergency. But I am also pleased to report that last week House Republicans passed a fiscally-responsible solution for the ongoing Zika crisis in order to protect those most vulnerable.  

May 18, 2016 News Stories
The House passed legislation Wednesday that would designate $622.1 million in existing federal funding to combat the Zika virus, putting the chamber on a collision course with a Senate plan to borrow $1.1 billion to fight the virus.
May 18, 2016 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5243, the Zika Response Appropriations Act, to confront the Zika virus and prevent its spread. Cole is an original co-sponsor of the bill and a member of the House Committee on Appropriations.
May 18, 2016 News Stories
A leading Republican said Wednesday the House will ultimately approve just as much Zika virus funding – if not more – than the Senate, in an attempt to resolve the funding fight within the GOP.
May 13, 2016 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after a federal judge weighed in this week on House v. Burwell and ruled that the Obama Administration unlawfully used taxpayer dollars to fund portions of Obamacare.
April 19, 2016 News Stories
When Vice President Joe Biden laid out plans for his major cancer research initiative in January, some public health advocates were alarmed. The plan to work toward a cure was ambitious, but there was virtually no mention of the importance of cancer prevention.
April 14, 2016 News Stories
Pub­lic-health of­fi­cials’ con­cern over the Zika vir­us is in­creas­ing, and some key Re­pub­lic­ans on Cap­it­ol Hill are warm­ing to the idea that fight­ing the dis­ease might mean dol­ing out more funds—even­tu­ally.
April 13, 2016 News Stories
Senior U.S. House of Representatives Republican Tom Cole said on Wednesday more funds will be needed to fight the Zika virus in the United States, signaling a shift from insistence by many Republicans that the Obama administration should use existing funds for the effort to combat the growing threat.
April 13, 2016 News Stories
House GOP leaders are working on a bill to approve more funding for the fight against the Zika virus by the end of the year as they face mounting pressure from the White House.
April 13, 2016 News Stories
The Na­tion­al In­sti­tutes of Health has some lofty goals: at­tempt­ing to cure can­cer and in­di­vidu­al­ize dis­ease treat­ments, es­tab­lish­ing a one mil­lion-plus re­search co­hort, and re­vo­lu­tion­iz­ing how sci­ent­ists un­der­stand the hu­man brain.

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