Peninsula: U.S. Sen. Murray visits, raps low Medicare reimbursements

SEQUIM — Healthcare professionals from Jefferson and Clallam counties didn’t have to persuade Patty Murray that there’s a problem with low reimbursement rates paid by Medicare to local doctors.

The Democratic U.S. senator from Shoreline told doctors, hospital officials and about 25 other persons during a community meeting Tuesday that inequity in Medicare reimbursements puts Washington and other western states at a huge disadvantage.

“It’s not fair that they receive twice as much in Florida as they do in Washington,” Murray told the audience, seated amid stuffed birds and animals at the Dungeness River Audubon Center.

Changing the reimbursement quotas isn’t easy, according to Murray, because it takes 51 votes to get legislation approved in the U.S. Senate.

She said she supports the FAIR Act, which would allow no state to be reimbursed at a rate lower than 95 percent or higher than 105 percent of the national average.

The FAIR Act, the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act, is part of a larger congressional initiative on government spending.

“We have about six votes,” Murray said. “We’re making some progress, but there’s a lot of work to do.”

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