In this week’s Mullin It Over, I’d like to take the time to answer a few of the questions that constituents posted on my Facebook and Twitter pages recently. Like many Americans, Oklahomans are concerned about our country’s health care system. Health care is personal to all of us and it’s important that your questions are answered.

Do you know how this repeal will affect Indian Health Services? And could you please explain how you expect this to affect the Native people here in Oklahoma?

Posted on Facebook on May 5, 2017.

This bill will not affect Indian Health Services. The American Health Care Act (AHCA), which the House passed on May 4th to repeal and replace Obamacare, makes no changes to Indian Health Services (IHS). In addition, the spending bill passed to fund the government through September funds IHS at a rate of $5 billion – an increase of $232 million from last year’s levels. I anticipate the native people of Oklahoma will welcome both of these things.

I have a question if you're brave enough to answer: Do you believe rape victims should be denied health care? Please explain how being raped equals a pre-existing condition.

Posted on Facebook on May 4, 2017.

The accusation that the AHCA classifies rape as a pre-existing condition is not only appalling, but it is factually untrue. Under no circumstances should insurance companies be able to discriminate against domestic violence victims and the lie that the AHCA classifies rape, sexual assault, or domestic violence as a pre-existing condition is simply untrue. The AHCA does not consider domestic violence or rape as a pre-existing condition and it does not allow states to deny coverage to anyone with a pre-existing condition. Additionally, Oklahoma is one of at least 45 other states with laws prohibiting health insurers from listing domestic abuse as a pre-existing condition. There should be no fear that rape or domestic violence victims will be charged more for health insurance because they have suffered a tragic event beyond their control.

If the bill (the AHCA) is so wonderful, why did you vote to exempt yourself and your staff from it?

Posted on Facebook on May 6, 2017.

A common misconception of the AHCA is that Congress voted to exempt themselves and their staff members from its coverage. The truth is that we passed legislation to ensure Members of Congress and their staffs receive the same treatment as any other American. H.R. 2192, introduced by Congresswoman Martha McSally of Arizona, “amend[s] the Public Health Service Act to eliminate the non-application of certain State waiver provisions to Members of Congress and congressional staff.” H.R. 2192 passed the House with bipartisan support on May 4th by a vote of 429 – 0. Members of Congress should live by the same rules as everyone else – no exceptions.

@RepMullin If protecting people with pre-existing conditions is so important, why did you vote to allow insurance companies to deny them?

Posted on Twitter on May 6, 2017.

We didn’t. Under no circumstances can insurance companies discriminate based on gender or pre-existing condition and no one can be denied coverage under the AHCA because of a pre-existing condition. The AHCA actually provides multiple layers of protection for people with pre-existing conditions. Current law already prohibits insurance companies from pricing customers based on health status. Even if a state applies for a waiver under the MacArthur amendment, pre-existing conditions cannot be waived, and the state has to explain how their program will do a number of things including reducing average premiums for patients, increasing enrollment for residents, stabilizing the state’s health insurance market, and stabilizing premiums for individuals with pre-existing conditions. We want to make sure everyone has access to quality, affordable health care, even if they have a pre-existing condition.

@SenatorLankford @RepMullin Are you paying attention? Trumpcare is the WRONG answer for this country! #SaveACA

Posted on Twitter on May 8, 2017.

I’m paying very close attention to the health insurance market in Oklahoma. I know that the Affordable Care Act has failed to do exactly what it set out to do: make care affordable for everyone. We’ve seen Oklahomans take on an unbearable 133 percent increase in premiums over the last two years. Blue Cross-Blue Shield is the only insurer left on the Oklahoma exchange and Oklahoma’s Insurance Commissioner Doak warned that Oklahoma may have no insurers left in the exchange in 2018 if we don’t take action soon. The AHCA encourages market competition and patient-centered care so that insurance companies can get back in the market and fight for your business. Under AHCA, Oklahomans will be able to choose a health care plan for their family that best suits their needs – not a plan that bureaucrats in Washington force on them. As your representative in Congress, I’m not willing to sit by and watch the Affordable Care Act continue down its death spiral, robbing Oklahomans of quality, accessible, and affordable health care.