February 20, 2015
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.