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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

January 13, 2016 News Stories

The Atlantic - Nora Kelly

When Americans go to the ballot box, they expect the congressional candidates they support to take their interests to the Hill—to fight for the political issues and programs they prefer with an enthusiasm and dedication that’s deeply personal. That doesn’t always happen. But in the last year or so, members of Congress responded to what one member called a “constituent-driven movement” to rally around the National Institutes of Health and the biomedical research it funds.

January 11, 2016 Weekly Columns

Last week was one for the history books in Congress because it brought an occasion that was a long time coming. Upon the return of lawmakers for legislative business this year, the U.S. House of Representatives swiftly voted to repeal the president’s healthcare law. At first, that might not sound like anything new coming from House Republicans, given our more than 50 previous attempts to repeal the harmful law. But this time marked the first time the measure was also agreed to by the Senate and finally able to reach the president’s desk. 

January 6, 2016 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015.
January 4, 2016 News Stories

The Oklahoman - Stephen Prescott, M.D. 

For the sake of Oklahoma's energy sector, let's hope the New Year brings a bump in oil and gas prices. But even if that doesn't happen, there are still plenty of economic silver linings to be found in the state.

In particular, the ongoing development of the bioscience sector has helped diversify our state's — and particular Oklahoma City's — economy. For 2016, here are five bioscience success stories that should just keep getting better.

Making cancer history

January 4, 2016 News Stories

National Journal - Rachel Roubein

Wristbands that track your daily activity. Kits that can purportedly analyze your genetics. Smartphone apps that track your daily intake of protein, sugar, and carbs.

It’s the age of “precision medicine,” as doctors and patients look to leverage vast amounts of individualized information available to fight diseases in a way they’ve never been able to before—with treatments that take into account environment, life-style, and even genes.

December 11, 2015 News Stories

STAT News - David Nather

A year ago, when Tom Cole was announced as the new chairman of the powerful House panel that funds medical research programs, he was no expert on medical science.

November 30, 2015 News Stories

Tulsa World - Jackie Kouri

Everyone with a brain is at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. It’s that simple, and that dire.

July 22, 2015 News Stories

Washington Times - Andrew Nachemson

Alzheimer’s advocates are warning that Medicare and the national health system will be swamped by costs and patient loads in the coming years if no action is taken to prepare for a projected huge increase in the caseload as baby boomers enter their senior years.

June 26, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling on King v. Burwell on Thursday.
June 25, 2015 Press Release
Washington D.C. – Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) today weighed in on the House Appropriations Committee passage of funding of the Fiscal 2016 Labor, Health & Human Services, Education spending bill, which contained funding for a centerpiece component of Murphy’s landmark mental health legislation, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.

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