Press Releases

Two weeks ago in Washington, D.C. Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) introduced legislation to deliver affordable, universal prescription drug coverage for all seniors, the Medicare Rx Now Act of 2003.  On Thursday, April 24th Smith will visit senior centers around the 9th Congressional District to discuss his bill and provide seniors with information to help them with their prescription drug costs now. 

Prescription drug legislation has been debated in Congress now for six years, and it will continue to take long-term battle to get a bill passed.  Smith believes that our nation’s seniors shouldn’t have to wait much longer to get the help they need. 

Many drug companies currently offer no-cost discount card plans to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors and many seniors are unaware that they qualify for Medicaid’s drug benefit.  Smith has organized an information session at three senior centers in his district with representatives from AARP and pharmaceutical companies to provide seniors with real ways they can reduce their prescription drug bills now through free drug discount plans.   

Media seeking additional information should contact Katharine Lister at (202) 226-8454.  To RSVP for any of these visits or to find out more information, constituents should call Smith’s district office at (253) 593-6600 or (888) SMITH09. 

10:30-11:30am
Firs Retirement Apartments
426 Lilly Road NE, Lacey

12:30-1:30pm
Puyallup Senior Center
212 West Pioneer Ave., Puyallup

2:30-3:30pm
Des Moines Senior Center
2045 South 216th Street, Des Moines

At today’s House International Relations Committee markup, Representative Adam Smith (D – Wash.) supported a strong U.S. role in international AIDS prevention.

“Over 22 million people around the world have died of AIDS already, and some estimates say the world will see 100 million cases in just four years,” Smith said.  “The global AIDS epidemic is an extremely destabilizing and dangerous problem that can only be solved with strong U.S. leadership, broad international support, and scientifically-proven methods of prevention and treatment.”

The House International Relations Committee today approved the five-year, $15 billion AIDS package that President Bush requested in his January State of the Union address; however, the Committee and the White House have differences of opinion on how that money should be spent.

The Administration wants a smaller role for the United States in the U.N.-backed Global Fund to Combat AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and instead wants more unilateral AIDS assistance.

“We should support the multilateral organizations that are pooling money to help fight these devastating diseases,” Smith said.  “America needs to participate and lead in these global efforts instead of trying to go it alone.”

The Committee agreed and preserved the funding – up to $1 billion – for the Global Fund.

The Committee also rejected, with Smith’s support, attempts to take away the flexibility offered to local AIDS preventions efforts and instead push a one-size-fits-all agenda that emphasizes abstinence instead of other scientifically-proven forms of AIDS prevention.

Smith noted that the global AIDS crisis is not just a humanitarian issue; it is a national security issue.  “The AIDS crisis is one of the most destabilizing events in history,” he explained.  “Unstable countries, countries in which people have little hope for their future and thousands of children are orphaned each year, are countries where terrorism and extremist movements thrive.  American leadership in solving this crisis is in our own best interests, it’s the right thing to do, and I’ll continue fighting on this critical issue.”

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today joined 17 other moderate Democrats to introduce a bill to deliver affordable, universal prescription drug coverage for all seniors.  The group hopes the bill, the Medicare Rx Now Act of 2003, will be permitted as the Democratic substitute to the Republican bill when it comes to the floor.

“I am proud to be part of the group introducing an affordable prescription drug benefit that provides coverage to the people who need the most help, that is fiscally responsible and permits coverage to go uninterrupted,” said Smith.  “I know how important it is that seniors have access to the medicines they need to stay healthy. 

“Back in Washington state, I hear constantly from seniors who can’t afford to take the drugs their doctors prescribe and they’re asking for our help now,” continued Smith.  “This centrist proposal provides a drug benefit right now to those seniors most in need – those with high drug expenditures and low-income seniors.”

The Medicare Rx Now Act of 2003 provides a prescription drug benefit within existing Medicare Part B coverage by offering universal benefits through an enhanced drug benefit for beneficiaries with more than $4,000 in total drug costs (rather than out-of-pocket expenses), a benefit for low-income seniors with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level and the use of Medicare-approved prescription drug card plans.  The plan delivers universal eligibility for all Medicare Part B recipients and does not increase premiums.  The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated the cost of this proposal at under $400 billion.

“This is a plan we can enact now to help seniors now –without fear of forcing seniors out of their coverage and out of their family doctor’s office, without fear of breaking the bank, and without fear of forcing seniors to continue to choose between basic life expenses and their health,” argued Smith.  “We’ve been debating this issue for six years in Congress, and it’s high time we got a common sense, affordable, passable plan on the table as a first step towards a larger solution.  Our bill helps hard-hit seniors now.”

Without invoking government-mandated price controls on prescription drugs, the Medicare Rx Now Act of 2003 utilizes purchasing power and competition to keep drugs affordable, both for seniors’ out of pocket costs and for the Medicare program in covering the drugs. Pooling Medicare recipients and allowing several prescription drug plans to compete for their business will help keep costs down.  This plan offers Medicare-approved prescription drug card plans for all Americans – helping all Americans keep drug costs down.

Click here for highlights of the Medicare Rx Now Act of 2003

House Centrist Democrats, led by Rep. Cal Dooley (D-Calif.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), will unveil their prescription drug plan at a press conference tomorrow – Wednesday, April 2 – at 11:00 a.m.

The Medicare Rx Now Act of 2003 is an affordable, universal approach to providing all seniors with the prescription drug coverage they need.

The bill provides a prescription drug benefit through existing Medicare Part B coverage by offering universal benefits through an enhanced drug benefit for beneficiaries with more than $4,000 in total drug costs (rather than out-of-pocket expenses), a benefit for low-income seniors with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level and the use of Medicare-approved prescription drug card plans. 

WHAT:              Press Conference on Centrist Prescription Drug Plan

WHO:                Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.)
                           Rep. Cal Dooley (Calif.)
                           Rep. Ellen Tauscher (Calif.)
                           Rep. Ron Kind (Wisc.)
                           Rep. Jim Davis (Fla.)
                           Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.)
                           Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.)
                           Rep. Charlie Stenholm (Tex.)

WHEN:              Wednesday, April 2, 2003
                           11:00a.m. to 11:30a.m.

WHERE:           House Radio-TV Gallery, H-321

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) announced the creation of a special page on his website, http://www.house.gov/adamsmith/startPage/Iraq.html, to help constituents better understand the situation in Iraq and feel comfortable about the security of our nation.

“These are difficult times right now with our men and women overseas in harm’s way.  In an effort to help my constituents, stay on top of the situation both in the Middle East and here at home, I’ve put together a website with information about the conflict, answers to some frequently asked questions from constituents and information about security here in the states,” said Smith.  “It’s critical at this time that you feel comfortable with the level of information that is out there and that your questions are being answered.  I hope you’ll visit the site and let me know how I can be of further help to you at this time.”

The site, http://www.house.gov/adamsmith/startPage/Iraq.html, contains:

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about U.S. involvement in Iraq
  • Resources for troops, reservists and families
  • Special information for deployed reservists and their families
  • Information on how citizens can support our troops
  • Helpful guides for parents and teachers to discuss the war with children
  • A quick guide to understanding the Department of Homeland Security Terrorism Advisory System
  • Resources from the Department of Homeland Security for citizens
  • A Guide to Citizen Preparedness from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to help individuals prepare themselves and their families for potential disasters
  • Washington State's "Emergency Resources" Guide
  • Kids Information on Deployment Stuff (K.I.D.S.) - a website for children from the Department of Defense

Smith has also assembled a range of information on legal protections for service members (active duty, National Guard and reservists) while they are abroad, benefits available to service members and their families, education opportunities, military pay and withholding, and other support resources for service members and their families.  That site is located at: http://www.house.gov/adamsmith/constituent/service.html.