Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) reintroduced legislation to fix unfair Medicare reimbursement rates that disproportionately hurt Washington State patients. Currently, many physicians who serve Medicare patients in Washington State are reimbursed at considerably lower rates than doctors in other parts of the country for providing the same services.  For example, in 2012, the average Medicare patient in Miami received over $17,000 in annual benefits, and the average Medicare patient in Seattle received only $7,300 in annual benefits.

“Despite having one of the most efficient Medicare programs in the country, our state is punished with some of the lowest reimbursement rates for health care providers,” said Rep. Adam Smith.  “This results in fewer doctors being able to accept Medicare and less patients receiving the care they need.  Access to quality health care should not be dictated by your zip code.  That is why I am reintroducing the MediFair Act, which would ensure that seniors relying on Medicare in Washington State would have equal access to doctors.”
 
The MediFair Act would level the playing field by increasing Medicare reimbursement rates in Washington State and other regions with payments lower than the national average and decreasing rates in regions that are inefficient and have payments higher than the national average.  
 
Smith first introduced the MediFair legislation in 2002, concerned that Washington State’s Medicare reimbursement rates were well below average for other regions of the country.  Fixing the regional disparities in Medicare reimbursement is critical to the program’s vitality. Representatives Derek Kilmer, Denny Heck, and Jim McDermott are cosponsors of this legislation.  

Click here for bill text.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement regarding a Texas U.S. District Court’s injunction on the President’s executive action on immigration reform:

“I am disappointed in the decision to temporarily delay the President’s executive action.  The President acted within his legal authority to help fix our broken immigration system as President Bush, Reagan, and many Presidents have before.  The President’s action is much needed as it would bring millions of families and children who live in constant fear of deportation out of the shadows and refocus our resources on individuals who present real risks to our communities.  Delaying this critical action continues to ignore the glaring need for immigration reform and will continue to rip families and communities across the country apart.”

 

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement:
 
“I was disgusted to learn about the vandalization of the school and Hindu temple in Bothell.  These acts are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.  From civic leaders to business owners, the Hindu community is a valued part of our society.  In the face of this act of hate, our community remains strong and resilient.  I look forward to continue working with community leaders to promote diversity, respect, and freedom."

 

Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement on Republican’s refusal to pass a Department of Homeland Security funding bill:

“Republicans continue to lose the immigration policy discussion and have now decided to hold funding for the Department of Homeland Security, a vital national security agency, hostage in an attempt to achieve their extreme immigration policy goals.
 
“As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I understand the wide range of threats our country faces every day. There are individuals that plot and plan to attack us at home and abroad every single day and the Department of Homeland Security plays a crucial role in providing for our security. Threatening to cut off funding for this important agency simply to undermine the President’s immigration polices is highly irresponsible. 
 
“The unnecessary fight over funding for the Department of Homeland Security builds on the Republican’s legacy of governing through crisis. Republicans now control both chambers of Congress and with that power comes responsibility. It’s time to get back to regular order and fund the government like responsible elected leaders.”  

Congressman Smith spoke about DHS funding on the House Floor last night.  Click here for video.

Today, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) joined colleagues in sending a letter to the Administration requesting an urgent meeting to develop an emergency plan to discuss Somali remittances.  Merchants Bank of California is the largest financial institution that handles the majority of money transfers from the U.S. to Somalia.  Last Friday, it notified all Money Transfer Operators (MTO) that it will be closing their accounts today, Friday, February 6th.  As a result, Somali-Americans in Washington State will be unable to send money to their family members in Somalia. 
 
“I have heard from many of my constituents, and I understand that remittances are a large part of the Somali economy. These funds help many families pay for the essentials, like food and medicine.  We need to ensure that residents of the 9th District and Somali-Americans everywhere can continue to send money back to their families in Somalia.   I will continue to fight for policies that do so. “
 
Congressman Smith has cosponsored legislation and spoke with multiple government officials in attempts to find ways to continue U.S. remittances to Somalia.  Additionally, Rep. Smith has hosted community meetings with constituents, money transfer operators, and banks to identify and discuss the challenges and opportunities regarding this issue.