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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 16, 2014 Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) joined Congressman Pete Sessions (TX-32), Senator John Cornyn (TX) and several other colleagues in signing an amicus brief in support of Hotze v. Sebelius. While numerous lawsuits have been filed against the Affordable Care Act, this litigation brought forth last May questions the constitutionality of the law according to the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Origination Clause.
April 1, 2014 News Stories
Insurance Networking News (via Bloomberg) - Caroline Chen, Margaret Talev, and Alex Wayne
 
The first phase of Obamacare ended yesterday much the same way it began: The federal website drew millions of visitors and crashed at least twice.
 
March 26, 2014 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the White House announced that it would extend the enrollment deadline for healthcare signups. According to the announcement on Tuesday evening, applicants who have had problems enrolling on the website will be given a grace period of two to three more weeks to complete their enrollment.

March 25, 2014 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the Supreme Court’s oral argument, Sebelius, Sec. of HHS v. Hobby Stores, Inc.
 

March 24, 2014 Weekly Columns

When you have car trouble, you first look at the nature and complexity of the problem. If you’re lucky, your car might only need some minor tweaks like replacing the battery or putting more air in the tires. But on some unfortunate occasions, your mechanic might recommend an expensive overhaul or buying a completely new car. Based on the situation, you must weigh your options and decide if it’s cost-effective, beneficial and even possible to repair the vehicle. Otherwise, sometimes the best solution and only lasting solution is a replacement.

March 17, 2014 News Stories

Times Record - Steve Tetreault

Republicans in the U.S. House took new aim last week at President Barack Obama, passing bills that challenge actions they say snub the will of Congress.

Republicans charge Obama has willfully circumvented Congress with a series of decisions to delay parts of the Affordable Care Act. They also say he disregarded the law when he moved in 2011 to suspend deportations of young people brought into the United States illegally as children.

March 6, 2014 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after supporting the SIMPLE Fairness Act (H.R. 4118). This legislation, which passed the House by a vote of 250-160, would lift the mandate requiring individuals to purchase health insurance through the end of the year.
 

January 14, 2014 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations announced a bipartisan omnibus that funds the government for fiscal year 2014. Cole praised inclusion of the provision that ensures federal workers earning an hourly wage will receive the same cost of living adjustment as all other federal workers for 2014.

January 6, 2014 Weekly Columns

The Affordable Care Act remains vastly unpopular across the country, and problems with the program continue to be revealed. These realities could actually prevent the president’s healthcare law from going into effect at the start of this year. On January 1, those enrolled for coverage under Obamacare became eligible to receive it. But the days ahead are likely to uncover more insurmountable problems for patients, doctors, employers and insurers.

November 18, 2013 Press Release

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