Washington D.C. – Congressman Adam Smith released the following statement in response to the Republican’s hastily introduced health bill: “I am strongly opposed to the Republican plan to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ‘Obamacare.’ This legislation, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), introduced earlier this month, … READ MORE
The rising cost of healthcare and growing number of uninsured people is creating a crisis situation in Washington and the United States. Spending for healthcare services continues to rise at an alarming rate. In 2001 healthcare spending was $1.4 trillion, and has since then more than doubled to $3.1 trillion for 2015. According to one report, between 2000 and 2008, the cumulative increase in health insurance premiums grew over three times as fast as wage increases, while healthcare spending is projected to grow at an average of 5.8% per year through 2024, an increase much higher than that of inflation or the cost of living.
Although many Americans have been able to obtain insurance through the Affordable Care Act, many still have reason to feel insecure about the quality of their health care and whether or not they will have insurance in the future. Nearly three out of four middle-income families are insured through their employer and with the rising rate of unemployment, many are concerned about being able to keep affordable care that meets their needs.
We must make it a goal that every American has access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage. Establishing standards for health insurance policies, creating a system of subsidies to make healthcare more affordable, and providing free preventative healthcare screenings will not only help the approximately 33 million Americans who are currently uninsured, it simply makes good economic sense for all of us. The uninsured often must forego preventative care and frequently seek medical attention through costly emergency services, thus increasing premiums for all.
For this reason, I have consistently supported funding for community health centers. Community health centers reduce reliance on emergency rooms and provide preventative care for low-income and medically under-served individuals. Through these measures, it is estimated that health centers save our current health care system around $24 billion each year. Community health centers provide care to over 23 million people each year – 8 million of which are uninsured – saving $414 per patient for Medicaid and $297-$1,210 for Medicare.
Taking steps to cover the uninsured is our opportunity to drive down the cost of universal healthcare. Inefficiencies within the Medicare system can also be reduced through improved payments for providers that reward quality rather than quantity. This will reward states like Washington for providing high-quality, low-cost care compared to other areas of the country that over-utilize unnecessary health services and drive up the cost of care nationally. Done the right way, we can incentivize these savings and healthy behaviors by implementing a public health insurance option.
Adam’s work on Healthcare:
- Voted for the Affordable Care Act, and supports reforms to expand access to Medicare for All.
- Opposes cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, all of which are vital to older Americans, persons with disabilities, and persons with limited means.
- Introduced the MediFair Act, which will make Washington state’s Medicare reimbursement rates more fair and expand coverage for Medicare patients.
- Supported measures to lower healthcare costs by creating a system of subsidies to fund community health centers and preventative care for low-income families.
- Voted to support expansion and improvement of State Children’s Health Program (SCHIP), which provided health care coverage for 11 million children and extended coverage to 4 million uninsured children who were eligible for, but not enrolled in, SCHIP and Medicaid.
- Cosponsored and supported passage of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act.
- Consistently supported increases in funding for the National Institutes of Health.