News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) announced that they have again teamed up to help make health care more affordable for Washington state seniors and ensure that Washington’s doctors aren’t punished for providing quality care.   Murray and Smith today reintroduced the MediFair Act which corrects inequities in the Medicare reimbursement system that penalize Washington state.

The current Medicare formula has resulted in national Medicare reimbursement disparities that hurt Washington state.  The MediFair Act, which Murray and Smith first introduced in 2002, increases the state’s reimbursement rate to the national average and ensures that all states receive at least the national average of per-patient spending.  The MediFair Act also ensures that Washington state’s seniors are on par with seniors around the country and stops punishing the state’s health care system for providing efficient, quality care.

“The MediFair Act gives Washington seniors the access to care they deserve,” Murray said.  “At a time when doctors and our state are struggling with rising costs, it will significantly increase our Medicare reimbursement and open the door to care for seniors. For too long, our state has been punished because we have a tradition of low-cost, efficient healthcare. As a new Administration seeks to meet our health care challenges, restoring fairness to Medicare should be a top priority.”

“Washington state’s Medicare program is one of the most efficient in the country.  In our current economy, we should be rewarding efficiency and cost savings. The federal program punishes our lack of waste and low utilization through very low reimbursement rates for our seniors and health care system.” Smith said.  “We need fundamental reform that focuses on healthy outcomes, treats our seniors fairly, and ensures the program is viable for future generations.  We should reward good government, not punish it, and the MediFair Act is a good step in that direction.”

The MediFair Act will ensure Washington’s seniors and health care system get fair treatment from the federal Medicare program and reward efficiency instead of punishing it.   The bill increases reimbursement rates for Washington state to the national average and directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to require other states be more efficient.

In 2003, for example, per capita spending under traditional Medicare was $5,661 for beneficiaries in Seattle, $9,752 for those in Los Angeles, and $11,340 for those in Miami. Continuing cuts to the Medicare program hit our state particularly hard and cause Medicare providers and insurance companies to seriously consider not participating in the Washington state Medicare program.  We need to protect choice for our seniors and ensure they can find a Medicare provider when they seek medical care.

Murray and Smith introduced the MediFair Act in their respective chambers of Congress. 

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash), U.S. Reps. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) cosponsored the bill.