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Mullin' It Over Column

Oklahoma’s Voice on Healthcare Reform

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Washington, January 12, 2017 | comments

At the start of each Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives selects the members that will sit on each committee and their subcommittees.  I will continue to sit on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and will remain on the Subcommittees on Energy and on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection (formerly Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade).  In addition, I was also selected to sit on the Health Subcommittee for the 115th Congress.

Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommittee is the lawmaking body for health policy in the House.  It has jurisdiction over several health entities including the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, Indian Health Service, Food and Drug Administration, and public health insurance, which is largely Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare. 

This means when Congress begins to repeal and replace Obamacare, that work will start in the Health Subcommittee.  As a member of the Subcommittee, I have the ability to be a voice for Oklahoma and help craft health care reform that benefits Oklahomans. 

Oklahoma has been hit hard by the failures of the Affordable Care Act.  You don’t have to look far to find someone in your community who has suffered the consequences of President Obama’s disastrous healthcare law.  This year, Oklahoma’s insurance premiums increased 76% on average.  Last year, Oklahoma had the highest premium increase in the nation.

In the 157 hospitals in Oklahoma, there are countless health care professionals who are suffering the ill effects of the Affordable Care Act.  Also within our state, there are thousands of people who are finding their health care is not so “affordable” with the addition of Obamacare into the marketplace.  

Because of Obamacare, insurance premiums have skyrocketed, out-of-pocket expenses have gone through the roof, and people are finding that having health insurance doesn’t necessarily mean your health care is affordable or reliable.  It might even mean your access to health care has decreased significantly.     

As a state with only one private insurance company left and millions paying the price of bad policy, Oklahoma needs a seat at the table.  I’m humbled to be that voice for Oklahoma on the Health Subcommittee. 

I’m going to work with my colleagues in the House to find solutions to the problems Obamacare created for those in rural areas and those who rely on Indian Health Services. Based on what Oklahomans have been experiencing over the past 7 years of Obamacare, it is imperative we begin this important work now.     

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