Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith

NEBRASKA's 3rd DISTRICT

Addressing Challenges to Rural Health

2014/11/21

Nearly one in five Americans, or 62 million people, live in rural and frontier communities.  As the representative of one of the most rural Congressional districts in the country and as Chairman of the Congressional Rural Caucus, I am focused on addressing the unique challenges facing rural Americans.

This week I joined health advocates throughout Nebraska and across the country in recognizing National Rural Health Day.  Rural hospitals are vital to rural areas.  Nebraska’s Third District is home to more than 50 Critical Access Hospitals.  These facilities provide critical care to some of the most vulnerable and elderly populations in the country.

This year, rural health care delivery is facing its greatest challenge.  Forty-three rural hospitals have closed since 2010; 283 more are on the brink of closure.  Because of Obamacare, we are seeing deep cuts to Medicare beneficiaries, a major patient population for these rural facilities.

In addition to cuts to Medicare, rural Nebraskans are facing steep hikes in their insurance premiums due to Obamacare.  New data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirms insurance premiums for the lowest-priced plans on Nebraska’s federally operated Obamacare exchange will increase in every county in Nebraska’s Third Congressional District. 

This new data confirms what Nebraskans have told me all along.  Obamacare is making health insurance more, not less, expensive and out of reach for hardworking families.  The President promised health care premiums would go down under his plan, but history continues to show more government control of the health care system results in higher costs.

To address these problems we need market- and patient-centered solutions to actually reduce costs and expand access to care.  This will first require the President and his allies in Congress to acknowledge their law isn’t working as they intended.

Rural hospitals also have to face arbitrary regulations such as physician supervision requirements, and a 96-hour precertification rule. Physician supervision rules require a physician’s presence and supervision over nearly all routine procedures administered in hospitals. The 96-hour rule requires physicians at rural hospitals to certify Medicare and Medicaid patients will not be at the hospital for more than 96 hours.  These facilities frequently do not have the resources to abide by these unnecessary regulations while continuing to provide affordable and efficient health care.

I have introduced legislation to address both of these arbitrary regulations.  This week, the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health announced it has included the legislative text of both of my bills as part of a larger package of health care reforms.  I am hopeful this plan will be considered early next year to provide relief to rural health providers.

I will continue to fight to make sure our rural communities maintain access to quality care, and we address the government imposed burdens to rural health. 

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Smith Responds to President’s Amnesty Plan

2014/11/20

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today released the following statement regarding President Obama’s planned executive orders to provide amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants without the consent of Congress:

“We have already seen how the President’s youth amnesty encouraged tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors to pour across the border.  Providing amnesty to millions of additional undocumented immigrants will only encourage others to break our laws and make it more difficult to fix our broken immigration system. 

“Worse than the specific policy is the precedent President Obama continues to set by ignoring Congress and the will of the American people.  Failing to perform his Constitutional duty to enforce laws undermines our system of government and reinforces the gridlock plaguing Washington.  Solutions will require both sides to work through regular order to come to an agreement.”

Background:

President Obama has regularly admitted he does not have the authority to bypass the legislative process and change laws on his own.  The Speaker’s office has compiled a list of 22 times the President specifically said he could not ignore or create his own immigration law.   

During a 2010 speech to students at American University, the President explained why giving amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants would be “unwise and unfair.”  In the President’s own words:

“For example, there are those in the immigrants’ rights community who have argued passionately that we should simply provide those who are [here] illegally with legal status, or at least ignore the laws on the books and put an end to deportation until we have better laws.  And often this argument is framed in moral terms:  Why should we punish people who are just trying to earn a living? 

“I recognize the sense of compassion that drives this argument, but I believe such an indiscriminate approach would be both unwise and unfair.  It would suggest to those thinking about coming here illegally that there will be no repercussions for such a decision.  And this could lead to a surge in more illegal immigration.  And it would also ignore the millions of people around the world who are waiting in line to come here legally. 

“Ultimately, our nation, like all nations, has the right and obligation to control its borders and set laws for residency and citizenship.  And no matter how decent they are, no matter their reasons, the 11 million who broke these laws should be held accountable.” Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-comprehensive-immigration-reform.  

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Obamacare Premiums Rise in Every Third District County

2014/11/20

New data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) confirms insurance premiums for the lowest-priced plans on Nebraska’s federally operated Obamacare exchange will increase in every county in Nebraska’s Third Congressional District.   

“This new data confirms what Nebraskans have told me all along.  Obamacare is making health insurance more, not less, expensive and out of reach for hardworking families,” said Congressman Smith.  “The President promised health care premiums would go down under his plan, but history continues to show more government control of the health care system results in higher costs.

“Obamacare is not working.  We need market- and patient-centered solutions to actually reduce costs and expand access to care.”

Insurance premiums for the lowest cost plan available on the Obamacare exchange will increase in Third District counties by the following:

Adams , +11.9%

Antelope, +11.9%

Arthur, +17.1%

Banner, +17.1%

Blaine, +11.9%

Boone, +11.9%

Box Butte, +17.1%

Boyd, +11.9%

Brown, +17.1%

Buffalo, +11.9%

Cedar, +11.9%

Chase, +17.1%

Cherry, +17.1%

Cheyenne, +17.1%

Clay, +11.9%

Custer, +11.9%

Dakota, +11.9%

Dawes, +17.1%

Dawson, +11.9%

Deuel, +17.1%

Dixon, +11.9%

Dundy, +17.1%

Fillmore, +7.5%

Franklin, +11.9%

Frontier, +17.1%

Furnas, +11.9%

Gage, +7.5%

Garden, +17.1%

Garfield, +11.9%

Gosper, +11.9%

Grant, +17.1%

Greeley, +11.9%

Hall, +11.9%

Hamilton, +11.9%

Harlan, +11.9%

Hayes, +17.1%

Hitchcock, +17.1%

Holt, +11.9%

Hooker, +17.1%

Howard, +11.9%

Jefferson, +7.5%

Johnson, +7.5%

Kearney, +11.9%

Keith, +17.1%

Keya Paha, +11.9%

Kimball, +17.1%

Knox, +11.9%

Lincoln, +17.1%

Logan, +17.1%

Loup, +11.9%

McPherson, +17.1%

Merrick, +11.9%

Morrill, +17.1%

Nance, +11.9%

Nemaha, +7.5%

Nuckolls, +11.9%

Pawnee, +7.5%

Perkins, +17.1%

Phelps, +11.9%

Pierce, +11.9%

Red Willow, +17.1%

Richardson, +7.5%

Rock, +11.9%

Saline, +7.5%

Scotts Bluff, +17.1%

Sheridan, +17.1%

Sherman, +11.9%

Sioux, +17.1%

Thayer, +7.5%

Thomas, +17.1%

Valley, +11.9%

Wayne, +11.9%

Webster, +11.9%

Wheeler, +11.9%

York, +7.5%

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Rep. Smith to Hold Mobile Office in Arthur

2014/11/18

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will meet constituents of the Third District during a "mobile office" on Friday, November 21, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. MST in Arthur.

A "mobile office" allows constituents to meet directly with Congressman Smith about federal issues and take advantage of the constituent services available through his office, such as assisting individuals with challenges they face while working with a federal agency, ordering flags flown over the U.S. Capitol, and booking tours in Washington, D.C.

Smith, who has offices in Grand Island and Scottsbluff, will hold the mobile office on Friday, November 21 at the following location:

  • 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. MST; Arthur County Courthouse, 205 Fir Street, Arthur, Nebraska.

For additional information, contact Congressman Smith's Grand Island office at (308) 384-3900.

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Rep. Smith to Hold Mobile Office in Tryon

2014/11/18

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will meet constituents of the Third District during a "mobile office" on Friday, November 21, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. CST in Tryon.

A "mobile office" allows constituents to meet directly with Congressman Smith about federal issues and take advantage of the constituent services available through his office, such as assisting individuals with challenges they face while working with a federal agency, ordering flags flown over the U.S. Capitol, and booking tours in Washington, D.C.

Smith, who has offices in Grand Island and Scottsbluff, will hold the mobile office on Friday, November 21 at the following location:

  • 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. CST; McPherson County Courthouse, 5th and Anderson Streets, Tryon, Nebraska.

For additional information, contact Congressman Smith's Grand Island office at (308) 384-3900.

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House Passes Bill to Rename Post Office for Sgt. Cory Mracek of Chadron

2014/11/18

The House of Representatives passed S. 1499 to designate the U.S. Post Office in Chadron as the “Sergeant Cory Mracek Memorial Post Office.”   The legislation was originally introduced by Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE) and Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE).  The bill now must be signed by the President before becoming law.

The Son of Jim and Pat Mracek, Cory Mracek originally served with the Nebraska National Guard, and transferred to active duty where he served with distinction. Mracek re-enlisted after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, where he served as a paratrooper with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne. Sgt. Mracek was killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom on January 27, 2004.

Video of the Congressman Smith’s remarks is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MyTuROCbSi0&feature=youtu.be. 

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Honoring Those Who Served

2014/11/14

Every year we celebrate Veterans Day by taking the time to thank those who have served our nation in uniform.  There can be no greater service than to risk your own life for the benefit of others.  We also express our gratitude to their families for the sacrifices they have made supporting those defending our freedom and way of life.

In addition to speaking at two Veterans Day events this year, I recently welcomed several large groups of veterans to Washington as part of Hero Flights and Honor Flights.  These privately sponsored trips fly veterans to our nation’s capital to view the many monuments and memorials. For many of the participants, these trips are their first opportunity to view the memorials built in honor of them and their brothers who never returned.

It is incredibly inspiring to spend time with veterans and learn about their service.  These experiences are an important reminder of the debt we owe our servicemen and women, and to ensure they are receiving the benefits they were promised and deserve.

Rural veterans specifically are often pillars of our communities, but face unique challenges in getting services and treatments.  For example, Third District veterans face barriers to care such as the distance between Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities.  These barriers lead to many rural veterans delaying or simply not seeking the care services they need. 

As your representative, and as Co-Chair and founder of the Rural Veterans Caucus, maintaining access to care for rural veterans is among my top priorities.  I am grateful the House Committee on Veterans Affairs recently held a field hearing in Hot Springs, South Dakota to discuss the potential reduction of services at this VA facility.  I also appreciated the opportunity to discuss the need to address the outdated VA hospital in Omaha with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald.  Both of these facilities are critical to many Nebraska veterans and their families.

Veterans Day 2014 is now behind us, but there are many ways to show your appreciation and support year-round.  I am once again participating in the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program.  Each year, the Red Cross collects and distributes holiday cards to service members, their families, and veterans at home and abroad.  Third District residents may drop off cards without postage at either of my district offices located in Grand Island and Scottsbluff by Monday, December 1, 2014. 

A complete list of guidelines for cards is available on my website at: http://adriansmith.house.gov/holiday-mail-heroes-program.  Last year, Third District residents helped me collect more than 10,000 holiday cards for this program.  I hope this year we can top this record.  Afterall, our service members, our veterans, and their families deserve nothing less.

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Smith Votes for Keystone XL Approval

2014/11/14

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today voted in favor of H.R. 5682 to authorize the construction, connection, operation, and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline has been languishing on the President’s desk for more than six years,” said Congressman Smith.  “Nebraskans overwhelmingly support this project which would encourage American energy, create thousands of jobs, and according to the President’s own State Department would not have a significant environmental impact. 

“It is past time to get this done.  I hope the Democratic leadership in the Senate will finally stop blocking this legislation and force the President to make a decision on this needed project.”

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Rep. Smith’s Office to Host Two Senior Services Fairs

2014/11/07

The Office of Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will host Senior Services Fairs in Grand Island and Scottsbluff.

Officials from the Nebraska Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) will be on hand to provide private consultations with seniors about Medicare Part D plan options.  Seniors seeking plan assistance should bring a complete list of their prescriptions taken, including dosage information.

Experts also will be available to answer questions about Social Security. 

The Senior Services Fairs will be held at the following dates and locations:

  • Thursday, November 13, 2014, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (C.S.T.); Grand Generation Center, 304 East 3rd Street, Grand Island, Nebraska.
  • Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (M.S.T.); Aging Office of Western Nebraska – Bluffs Business Center, 1517 Broadway, Suite 122, Scottsbluff, Nebraska.

For additional information, contact Congressman Smith's Grand Island office at (308) 384-3900.

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The New Reality in Washington

2014/11/07

The House of Representatives has passed hundreds of bills to reduce the role of government in our lives and economy, encourage economic growth, and put America on a more prosperous path since Republicans were elected to a majority of seats in 2010.  However, few of these bills have even been considered in the United States Senate.

This gridlock is incredibly frustrating to not only those of us on both sides of the aisle working to tackle the serious challenges facing our country, but to the American people.  And now voters across the country have sent a clear message by changing the leadership of the Senate, and electing the largest Republican majority in the House of Representatives in decades.

The incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has promised to make the upper chamber work again by considering the many bills passed by the House, voting on amendments offered by members of both parties, and getting legislation to the President’s desk.  He also has offered to work with the President to reach agreement on solutions.

In contrast, the President is doubling down on the policies which are failing America and have been rejected by voters.  Rather than offering to work with Congress, he is once again threatening to bypass the legislative branch and enact his agenda via executive orders and regulations.

This approach only ensures further gridlock and dysfunction.  I hope the President will change course and respect the system of government as designed by our founders.  History has shown divided government can work well to produce meaningful results for the American people.

President Reagan worked with a Democratic Congress to pass a major overhaul of our tax code in 1986.  In the late 1990’s, President Clinton worked with a Republican Congress to enact welfare reforms, and to balance the budget.  Even under President Obama, we have worked together to pass major spending reductions, new trade agreements, and a reformed Farm Bill.

In the next Congress, I am hopeful we can once again seize the moment.  There is broad bipartisan support to fix elements of Obamacare such as eliminating the medical device tax, updating trade authority, and approving the Keystone XL pipeline.  Perhaps getting these items done could pave the way and build the trust necessary to do big things such as tax reform and entitlement reform.  While difficult, we must tackle these issues to grow our economy and save our nation from bankruptcy.

The new reality in Washington, while an improvement, will still require consensus building and deny both parties the ability to get everything they want.  The President still has the power to veto our bills, and we will still need 60 votes to pass legislation out of the Senate.  However, I am optimistic we now have an opportunity to move forward on the priorities of the American people and improve the political process.

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Contact Information

2241 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-6435
Fax 202-225-0207
adriansmith.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Ways and Means

Congressman Adrian Smith has earned praise for his leadership, hard work and dedication to Nebraska commonsense. Smith has tackled issues ranging from biofuels and other forms of domestic energy to transportation research and development to fashioning legislation promoting rural America.

Smith has consistently voted against tax increases, massive government bailouts, and was unwavering in his opposition of the misguided health care bill now creating massive uncertainty for our nation’s job creators.

Smith, a co-sponsor of the Balanced Budget Amendment and a supporter of a Congressional earmark moratorium, has earned a reputation as a solid conservative through his votes to protect the rights of gun owners, efforts to limit the scope of government, and his strong pro-life voting record.

Smith, who serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, actively promotes access for Nebraska agriculture products in Asia, South America, and throughout the world. Nebraska’s $4 billion in worldwide agricultural exports creates $6.7 billion in additional economic activity. Smith supports trade agreements which will continue to create new opportunities for our agriculture producers and their products to keep Nebraska’s economy strong.

Smith’s assignment on the Ways and Means Committee also puts the Nebraskan on the front lines in the debate on how to create jobs, promote economic growth, and directly impact tax policy – such as the Death Tax which threatens family farms and ranches.

Smith’s also has introduced the bipartisan Small-Scale Hydropower Enhancement Act which would help stimulate the economy of rural America, empower local irrigation districts to generate revenue, and decrease reliance on fossil fuels by encouraging the use of small-scale hydropower projects.

The Gering native, whose family has called Nebraska home for six generations, was first introduced to politics by his grandfather. Prior to his election to Congress, Smith served his hometown as a member of the City Council. He then represented District 48 for eight years in the Unicameral.

He continues to reside in Gering.


Serving With

Jeff Fortenberry

NEBRASKA's 1st DISTRICT

Lee Terry

NEBRASKA's 2nd DISTRICT

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