A quick update
Fifty years ago today, President Lynden B. Johnson signed the Medicare program into law. Medicare now enables more than 50 million seniors and people with disabilities to receive quality healthcare, including 90,000 in Washington’s 1st Congressional District, and it must be protected for generations to come.
As we commemorate this important milestone, it’s critical that we look forward to the next 50 years and put policies in place to ensure Medicare remains strong. And we have already made some progress. This year, I fought for and helped secure a permanent solution to the Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which had threatened to cut Medicare payments to doctors by more than 20 percent each year. Passing this long-overdue fix will meaningfully improve the stability of Medicare for doctors and seniors alike.
There is much more to do and I will keep fighting for solutions that reduce seniors’ costs and improve their quality of care. In the current session of Congress, I have cosponsored legislation to increase patient access to providers in rural and underserved areas (H.R. 592), eliminate barriers to skilled nursing care (H.R. 1571) and improve care planning for patients with Alzheimer’s disease (H.R. 1559). I also support allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, and I am leading a bill to ensure low-income seniors can get rides to and from their doctor appointments.
Unfortunately, Medicare continues to face attacks from some in Congress. Earlier this year, House leaders tried to re-open the Medicare Part D “donut hole” — which would increase drug costs for 72,000 seniors in and replace the Medicare guarantee of health coverage with a voucher premium-support system. I strongly oppose these efforts and I’ll continue to stand up against attempts to weaken or privatize the program.
For half a century, Medicare has served as a vital lifeline for millions of Americans. In the months and years to come, I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and my constituents back home to protect and strengthen the program for another 50 years.
As always, my office is here to serve you. If you have questions or comments about the topics that matter most to you, I encourage you to contact me through my website. You may also keep up-to-date on what I’m doing by following me on Twitter, Instagramand Facebook. If you need assistance dealing with a federal agency, such as the IRS or the VA, please do not hesitate to contact my Bothell office at (425) 485-0085.