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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

June 23, 2015 Weekly Columns

Among the most heartbreaking circumstances in life are those in which we see our family, friends or loved ones suffering from illness. My own family knows firsthand the toll that Alzheimer’s disease takes on those living with it and on those caring for them. What starts out as slight memory loss eventually leads to disappearing personalities and then no recollection of the people and memories that filled an individual’s life. I remember how painful it was to see that happen to my own father during the last several years of his life.

June 21, 2015 News Stories

Norman Transcript - Staff Reports

The House Labor Health and Human Services (HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Tom Cole recently proposed a $300 million increase for Alzheimer’s research, as requested by Alzheimer’s Association advocates. This is a significant milestone toward reaching the levels deemed necessary by scientists to realize the goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease — to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s by 2025.

June 21, 2015 News Stories

Norman Transcript - Staff

The House Labor Health and Human Services (HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Tom Cole recently proposed a $300 million increase for Alzheimer’s research, as requested by Alzheimer’s Association advocates. This is a significant milestone toward reaching the levels deemed necessary by scientists to realize the goal of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease — to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s by 2025.

June 16, 2015 News Stories

The Hill - Peter Sullivan

House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled their healthcare spending bill, which moves to halt ObamaCare in its tracks while boosting healthcare funding by about $300 million overall. 

The appropriations bill blocks funds from being used to “implement, administer, enforce, or further any provision of” ObamaCare.

May 19, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC - Today, Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 2400, legislation to create a Special Inspector General for Monitoring the Affordable Care Act (SIGMA). The bill is supported by all Majority members of the Oversight Subcommittee and all key oversight subcommittee chairs, as well as a wide array of prominent conservative advocacy organizations.
March 26, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. The legislation passed today permanently replaces the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) that often short-changes Medicare reimbursements for doctors. Further, the bill includes small reforms to address the broken structure of Medicare and provides a two-year extension for funding community health centers.
March 26, 2015 News Stories

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

In an extraordinary display of bipartisanship, the House voted Thursday to remake a troublesome system for paying the doctors who treat Medicare patients.

Primarily aimed at giving physicians some financial certainty each year, the legislation also will end the frequent last-minute congressional patches to a law that has caused problems for many years. The bill passed 392 to 37 and now goes to the Senate.

February 3, 2015 News Stories

New York Times - Robert Pear

 The House passed a bill on Tuesday to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the first time in the new Congress, but Democrats appeared to show more zeal in defending the law than Republicans did in trying to get rid of it.

The measure goes now to the Senate, where the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, has said that the chamber will vote on legislation repealing the health law but has not announced a schedule.

February 3, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after supporting legislation to repeal Obamacare. In addition to repeal, H.R. 596 calls on lawmakers to draft alternative solutions to replace the president’s unworkable healthcare law.
January 8, 2015 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 30, the Save American Workers Act. The legislation repeals the portion in Obamacare that defines 30 hours per week as full-time for employees and replaces it with the traditional American workweek of 40 hours. Cole is an original co-sponsor of the legislation.

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