At least one Oklahoma congressman is excited about the health-care reform legislation introduced Monday by House Republicans.

“I’m looking forward to passing The American Health Care Act out of committee so we can begin to deliver on our promise to repeal and replace Obamacare with a health care plan that puts patients first,” 2nd District Congressman Markwayne Mullin said in a written statement.

Mullin is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday. He has been an outspoken critic of the Affordable Care Act.

“Obamacare sent premiums in Oklahoma through the roof and increased deductibles so that people couldn’t even afford to use their health care plan,” Mullin said. “With only one insurer left in the state marketplace, Oklahomans need relief from the disastrous policy they’ve been living under for the last seven years.”

In truth, the individual health insurance market in Oklahoma was sparse before the ACA and was previously unavailable or unaffordable to many of those who are covered by insurance from the exchange.

Mullin, though, said he is confident that the Republican plan “delivers lower costs, more choices, and a patient-centered system that gives Oklahomans more control over their health care.”

Not sold on the bill was 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine. He said he rejects the proposal because it “replaces Obamacare subsidies with Republican subsidies; … penalizes a break in health coverage with fines paid to an insurance company instead of the government, which may not be constitutional; institutionalizes the Medicaid expansion and incentivizes states to expand Enhanced Medicaid enrollment; and provides … $100 billion to … “stabilize” state health insurance markets.”

Oklahoma’s U.S. senators, James Lankford and Jim Inhofe, meanwhile, said they will be waiting to see what emerges from the House.

“I am pleased that the House has taken the first step in fixing our broken health care system,” Inhofe said in a written statement. “Importantly, the House’s plan does away with the individual and employer mandates while at the same time allowing people to choose the health care they need by doing away with the unnecessary restrictions on plans.

“This is a work in progress and I am prepared to work with my colleagues to begin the process of ensuring people have access to affordable and individualized health plans,” said Inhofe.

Lankford said through a spokesman that “the release of the House Republican Obamacare replacement bill is another step in the conversation on how to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

“I am monitoring the legislation moving through the House, and I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to navigate the best way forward to repeal and replace Obamacare and ensure a smooth transition to better coverage options for everyone,” he said.

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Randy Krehbiel


Twitter: @rkrehbiel

Randy has been with the Tulsa World since 1979. He is a native of Hinton, Okla., and graduate of Oklahoma State University. Krehbiel primarily covers government and politics. Phone: 918-581-8365

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