Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee
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Health Care


The Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare”

For decades, I have worked hard to reform our nation’s broken health care system. In 2010, I voted for a comprehensive health care reform bill, the Affordable Care Act, to provide better care and lower costs over time. The Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect, and it doesn’t solve all our health care problems, but it’s an important first step.  Like any other major legislation in Congress, we should continue to make improvements to the law.

Elements of the new law are being phased in over several years, and we’ve already seen a lot of changes. Children with pre-existing conditions such as asthma are no longer denied coverage. Starting in 2014, no one can be denied coverage for a pre-existing coverage. 

More: View an interactive timeline of all of the changes, key features of the law, and other information on the law’s roll-out.

Protecting Medicare

Medicare is a vital and sacred program, but it’s on a fiscally unsustainable course. According to the Social Security and Medicare Actuaries, the Medicare Trust Fund will be exhausted in 2030. We must keep it strong and sustainable for our seniors and for future generations.

In order to protect Medicare, we must first know how it works. My bill, the Medicare Information Act, would provide every American with an annual snapshot of their lifetime contributions and a summary of their estimated benefits. Many people don’t realize that they will likely withdraw much more from Medicare than they paid in.

           More: To view how Medicare is financed, check out this website.

It’s important to find waste and abuse in the Medicare system, and that’s why I am a co-sponsor of the Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare Expenditures (PRIME) Act. The PRIME Act would enact stronger penalties for Medicare and Medicaid fraud, curb improper or mistaken Medicare and Medicaid payments, improve waste and fraud prevention strategies and improve the sharing of anti-fraud data across state and federal agencies and programs.

Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is a large and ever-growing problem that drives up health care costs, takes lives, and eats away at communities. Tennessee is one of the worst offenders, and that’s why I co-sponsored the Pill Mill Crackdown Act, a bipartisan bill to increase penalties for distributing controlled substances illegally.

Promoting Innovation & Accessibility

Innovation and accessibility are vital to improving the quality of our health care system. From new electronic medical records that will streamline patient care to continuing research for cures to disease and access to the most effective medicines, we must continue finding ways to make the system better.

I also support initiatives to increase awareness, access to treatments and research for major health problems like diabetes and cancer.

           More: Cooper's Skin Cancer Caucus Facebook Page
           More: Cooper sends letter to support Special Diabetes Program

Investing in Scientific and Health Care Research

Basic science, the seed corn of innovation, is primarily supported by the federal government — not industry, which is typically more interested in applied research and development. But at a time when other countries are increasing investments in science and technology, basic science is at risk.

I’ve supported increases for NIH funding for years and helped launch national awards in 2012 to promote major breakthroughs from science and medical research.  

           More: Read all about the “Golden Goose Awards”

Links & Additional Resources

Health Care Law - Explore both private and public health coverage options and learn more about the new health care law.

Plan choices for small businesses - A resource on insurance plan choices for small business owners.

Food Safety - Get alerts on life-saving food recalls and helpful tips for keeping food safe, from the trusted source for food safety information.

My Medicare - Medicare's free, secure online service for accessing personalized information regarding your Medicare benefits and services.

Insure Kids - Find Tennessee-specific information about health insurance coverage for children under Medicaid and CoverKids, Tennessee’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Let's Move for Healthier Children - Join America’s move to raise a healthier generation of kids. Tennessee ranks fifth in the nation for overweight or obese children.

Department of Health & Human Sciences - Engage with the HHS as it makes its operations more transparent to the public.

Hospital Compare – Compare hospitals in your area based on patient feedback and quality of care measures.

Nursing Home Comparison – Detailed information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country.

Stop Medicare Fraud – Learn how to prevent and report Medicare fraud.


More on Health Care

Jul 1, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) today issued the following statement:

“President Obama gave another great talk in Nashville today. The Affordable Care Act is working. Now we need Insure Tennessee to help our fellow citizens and neighbors.”

Jun 25, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) today praised the Supreme Court for preserving federal subsidies that help an estimated 6.4 million Americans – including nearly 200,000 Tennesseans – pay for health insurance.

Cooper celebrated the ruling’s implications not only for those with federal subsidies, but also the insurance market and the preservation of benefits in the Affordable Care Act. For instance, health care insurers can no longer deny people for pre-existing conditions, and young adults can stay on a parent’s insurance plan until they turn 26.

Jun 19, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) today applauded the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) policy adjustment to include sex as a biological variable in future research.

Cooper’s Research for All Act calls for the inclusion and separate analysis of male and female animals, tissues and cells in research conducted and funded by the NIH. A section of Cooper’s bill, first introduced last year, calls for the same change made last week by NIH.

May 5, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) and U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (WY-at large) have reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would bring gender equality to essential aspects of medical research.

Mar 26, 2015 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) again urged the state legislature to quickly expand Medicaid as a new study revealed alarming health trends across Tennessee.

Expanding Medicaid would offer health insurance to more than 200,000 Tennesseans currently without coverage.

As Gov. Haslam’s “Insure Tennessee” package works its way through the committee process, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report released this week found the following:

Dec 15, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) today issued a statement on Gov. Bill Haslam’s Insure Tennessee plan:

“Gov. Haslam’s announcement is a step in the right direction,” Cooper said. “Expanding health insurance to more Tennesseans is the right thing to do for patients, hospitals and businesses.”

For more information on the proposal, click here.

Oct 23, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON – In light of the Ebola outbreak, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today signed a letter raising concerns about insufficient funding levels for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Joined by nearly 50 House Democrats, Cooper added his signature to a letter addressed to the House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for setting funding levels for federal agencies. The letter implores the House panel to prioritize programs related to investment in medical research and response to public health emergencies.

Sep 23, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) today applauded the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for awarding more than $10 million in grants to fight gender bias in medicine. Vanderbilt University will be one of the research centers chosen to study gender differences.

Jun 25, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper on Wednesday hailed the news that a celebrated Nashville-based health care leader was appointed as a Senior Advisor to U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson.

Dr. Jonathan Perlin is Chief Medical Officer and President of Clinical Services for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). He provides leadership for clinical services and improving performance at the company’s 162 hospitals, as well as more than 800 outpatient centers and physician practices.

Jun 17, 2014 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) and U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis (WY-1) today introduced a bipartisan bill that would require the inclusion and separate analysis of both male and female animals, tissues and cells in basic research conducted and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).Research for All