Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will meet constituents of the Third District during a mobile office on Monday, October 12, in Lexington.
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 in Lexington on Monday, October 12, at the following time and location:
Central Community College Conference Room 1501 Plum Creek Parkway, Lexington, NE 68850 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CDT)
For additional information, contact Congressman Smith’s Scottsbluff office at (308) 633-6333.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced the conclusion of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.
“I have consistently supported efforts to achieve the best possible TPP agreement for Nebraska producers and consumers. The next step in the process requires an extended period of public review before the President can present the trade agreement to Congress for a vote. It is vital we take this opportunity to review the agreement in full and listen to the views of stakeholders.”Read More
October marks the two year anniversary of Obamacare’s implementation, and most Americans suffering the damaging consequences of this deeply flawed law know it has been two years too long. From rising premiums and dropped coverage to the abrupt collapse of CoOportunity Health, Obamacare continues to hurt Nebraskans, expand the size of government, and skyrocket the national debt.
Obamacare’s Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, or CO-OPs, exemplify the mounting failures of the President’s health care law. CoOportunity Health, the CO-OP serving Nebraska and Iowa, went bankrupt earlier this year and was liquidated by the state of Iowa after only one year of offering health coverage. In July, Louisiana Health Cooperative announced it would be closing. In August, Nevada Health CO-OP announced to its 14,000 subscribers that it too would close by the end of 2015. Just last week, New York state told Health Republic Insurance of New York to stop writing new policies and to shut down operations.
These four CO-OPs received approximately $146 million, $66 million, $65.9 million, and $265 million, respectively, in taxpayer funds. It is highly unlikely those loans will ever be fully repaid; instead, taxpayers will be forced to pay for the losses of these failed programs. Numerous organizations, including the Galen Institute and the Council for Affordable Health Coverage, have asked Congress to investigate the egregious misuse of funds.
This week, I joined Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady and Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam in sending a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services seeking more information on the financial solvency of CO-OPs. The American people have already shouldered far too many of Obamacare’s burdens, and I will not stop pursuing this issue until we know why there was not more oversight of these CO-OPs and how to prevent further damage to taxpayers.
The Ways and Means Committee, of which I am a member, took an important step toward dismantling Obamacare by passing reconciliation legislation on Tuesday. This bill would repeal a series of significant pieces of the President’s health care law: the individual mandate, the employer mandate, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the medical device tax, and the “Cadillac” tax. Without these onerous provisions, Obamacare would likely crumble under its own regulatory weight.
Reconciliation requires three House committees – the Ways and Means Committee, the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Committee on Education and the Workforce – to each produce at least $1 billion in savings focused on taxes and spending under their respective jurisdictions. These bills are reported to the House Budget Committee, where they will be assembled into one reconciliation bill to be voted on by the full House. The bill then has an easier road to passage in the Senate, where only 51 votes are required rather than the usual 60-vote threshold. This process is our best opportunity to fulfill our commitment to the American people by finally putting an Obamacare repeal bill on the President’s desk.
Additionally, the House passed legislation this week called the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees Act, of which I am a cosponsor. This bill would allow employees to keep the health plans they like while protecting small businesses from higher premium costs under Obamacare. With small businesses providing 55 percent of all jobs in the United States, we need to make sure costly Obamacare regulations do not force them to close their doors.
Rampant problems with the President’s health care law continue to impact Nebraskans, but I am hopeful both chambers of Congress can come together and finally relieve Americans of Obamacare’s regulatory burdens while increasing access to quality care.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today announced the names of Third District high school students who will serve on his Youth Advisory Council for the 2015-2016 academic school year.
2015-2016 Youth Advisory Council members include:
Heather Bentley of Miller, Amherst Public School;
Giselle Bergmeier of Beatrice, Beatrice High School;
Macie Clawson of Hastings, Hastings High School;
Grace Clawson of Hastings, Hastings High School;
Trevor Conway of Fullerton, Fullerton High School;
Haley Ehrke of Orleans, Southern Valley Public Schools;
Valerie Ford of Sutton, Sutton Public Schools;
Matthew Fredricks of Alda, Grand Island Northwest High School;
Sara Gingerich of Dix, Potter-Dix High School;
Edward Li of Cook, Johnson County Central High School;
Andrew Moritz of Hastings, Hastings High School;
Caitlyn Nelson of Atkinson, West Holt Public School;
Jared Pilkington of Scottsbluff, Scottsbluff High School;
Katelynn Piper of Clay Center, Harvard Public School;
Joel Schroeder of Paxton, Paxton Consolidated Schools;
Joseph Taylor of Cambridge, Cambridge High School;
Tara Taylor of Long Pine, Ainsworth Community Schools;
Jordan Villarreal of Arapahoe, Arapahoe High School;
Kelton Walz of Broken Bow, Broken Bow High School;
Maverick Widdowson of Kearney, Kearney High School;
and Tori Wilson of Elwood, Elwood Public Schools.
Smith’s Youth Advisory Council is a forum for high school students to discuss opinions, thoughts, and concerns about local and federal issues with Smith throughout the school year. Through in-person meetings and other contacts, the Council provides students an opportunity for involvement and insight into their government and communities.
The Council is open to junior and senior high school students who are selected through an application process in the spring. For more information, interested parties are encouraged to contact Smith’s Scottsbluff office at 308-633-6333 or visit Smith’s website at http://AdrianSmith.house.gov/YouthAdvisoryCouncil.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) joined Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) in sending a letter yesterday to the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Andrew Slavitt. In the letter, the members express concern over the lack of oversight and request more information on the financial solvency of Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs).
This letter comes in the wake of several Obamacare-created CO-OPs failing, potentially costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
The lawmakers wrote, “We look forward to working with you to improve oversight, accountability, and transparency of the CO-OPs, and most importantly, to protect taxpayers who stand to lose when they fail.” The full text of the letter is below and a signed copy is available here.
--- September 30, 2015
Mr. Andrew Slavitt Acting Administrator Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 7500 Security Boulevard Baltimore, MD 21244
Dear Mr. Slavitt:
On July 30, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) raised concerns over the oversight of the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans (CO-OPs) by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In its report, the OIG made several recommendations to improve the program and protect taxpayer dollars. We write today seeking additional information regarding CO-OPs, the OIG report, and the actions CMS is taking to ensure taxpayer funds are protected.
We have long been concerned about the financial solvency of CO-OPs. Federal spending, consisting of both start-up and solvency loans, totals $2.4 billion to date. As you are aware, earlier this year, CoOportunity Health, the CO-OP serving Nebraska and Iowa, went bankrupt and was liquidated by the state of Iowa after only one year of offering health coverage. In July, Louisiana Health Cooperative announced it would be closing.
In August, Nevada Health CO-OP announced to their 14,000 subscribers that it too would close by the end of 2015. And in September, New York State told Health Republic Insurance of New York to stop writing new policies and to shut down operations. These four CO-OPs received approximately $146 million, $66 million, $65.9 million, and $265 million respectively in taxpayer funds. It is highly unlikely these loans will ever be fully repaid, and taxpayers will be forced to pay for the losses of these failed programs.
Furthermore, according to the OIG report, more CO-OPs remain in serious financial trouble. The report found that from January 1 through December 31, 2014, 21 of the 23 CO-OPs incurred net losses and more than half of the 23 CO-OPs had net losses of at least $15 million. One CO-OP, Kentucky Health Cooperative, had a net loss of more than $50 million in 2014 alone.
The credit ratings firm Standard and Poor’s (S&P), found the medical loss ratios were more than 100 percent for several CO-OPs, which suggests that these CO-OPs spent more in healthcare claims than they received in premiums. S&P noted that, as of September 2014, 11 CO-OPs had worse loss ratios than CoOportunity Health, which closed earlier this year.
While the OIG report was helpful in providing much-needed information on the CO-OPs, including enrollment numbers and income data, it unfortunately confirmed many of the concerns we have long expressed about the CO-OPs ability to repay federal loans. We look forward to working with you to improve oversight, accountability, and transparency of the CO-OPs, and most importantly, to protect taxpayers who stand to lose when they fail. To assist the Committee, please provide the following no later than October 14, 2015:
1. According to the OIG report, CMS has recently placed four CO-OPs on enhanced oversight or corrective action plans, and two CO-OPs on low enrollment warning notifications. Which plans have received these warnings or have been placed on corrective plans? Describe the criteria used to determine CO-OPs subject to increased oversight. Also, please provide all corrective action plans.
2. What criteria does CMS use to determine the financial solvency of CO-OPs? Since the publication of the OIG report, has CMS instituted any additional requirements? Please provide the Committee with all relevant guidance issued.
3. The OIG recommended CMS work with state insurance regulators to identify and correct underperforming CO-OPs. What steps has CMS taken to work with state insurance regulators to identify underperforming CO-OPs? Has this coordination resulted in identifying any CO-OPs for additional oversight? If so, which CO-OPs? What additional oversight measures are planned?
4. What criteria were used to determine whether CO-OPs received additional funds after their initial start-up financing?
5. In the event that a CO-OP appears unlikely to repay its loans, what steps will CMS take to protect taxpayer dollars? How does CMS plan to recoup these losses?
6. Please provide the terms and conditions for all CO-OP recipients, including any modifications. Additionally, are there any conditions limiting compensation to CO-OP agents, including employees, contractors, executives and directors? If so, what are these conditions and how does CMS ensure compliance?
We thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to a timely response to our questions. If you have any questions, please contact Oversight Subcommittee staff at (202) 225-5522.
Peter J. Roskam Chairman, Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee
Kevin Brady Chairman, Ways and Means Health Subcommittee
Adrian Smith Member, Ways and Means Health SubcommitteeRead More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after the House Ways and Means Committee, of which Smith is a member, marked up and passed reconciliation legislation to repeal a series of significant pieces of Obamacare: the individual mandate, the employer mandate, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), the medical device tax, and the “Cadillac” tax.
“From rising premiums and dropped coverage to the abrupt collapse of CoOportunity Health, President Obama’s deeply flawed health care law continues to hurt Nebraskans,” Smith said. “The legislation passed by the Ways and Means Committee today would repeal core provisions of Obamacare, causing the law to crumble under its own regulatory weight. This reconciliation process is our best opportunity to fulfill our commitment to the American people by finally putting an Obamacare repeal bill on the President’s desk.”
Reconciliation requires three House committees – the Ways and Means Committee, the Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Committee on Education and the Workforce – to each produce at least $1 billion in savings focused on taxes and spending under their respective jurisdictions. These bills are then reported to the House Budget Committee, where they will be assembled into one reconciliation bill to be voted on by the full House. In the Senate, reconciliation legislation can pass with only 51 votes rather than the usual 60-vote threshold.Read More
Constituents of Third District Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) will be able to meet with a representative of Congressman Smith’s office for “mobile offices” on Thursday, October 1, in Chadron and Harrison.
A “mobile office” allows constituents to meet directly with one of Smith’s staff members 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 provide his mobile office and a staff member on Thursday, October 1, at the following times and locations:
Dawes County Courthouse 451 Main Street, Chadron, NE 69337 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (MDT)
Sioux County Courthouse 325 Main Street, Harrison, NE 69346 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (MDT)
For additional information, contact Congressman Smith’s Scottsbluff office at (308) 633-6333.Read More
With more than 96 percent of the world’s customers living outside our borders, trade provides tremendous opportunities to grow our rural economy. As our work on trade negotiations moves forward, I am committed to expanding access to thriving and growing international markets for Nebraska producers, manufacturers, and consumers. On Tuesday, I hosted a seminar in Grand Island called Growing Nebraska Through Trade. I appreciated Ambassador Darci Vetter, Third District native and Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, joining us to deliver the keynote address on how trade agreements can level the playing field for producers in Nebraska and across the United States. Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach and numerous other experts also provided informative perspectives on the intersections of trade and agriculture, and state level efforts to grow our value-added economy. Ambassador Vetter focused specifically on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement being negotiated among the U.S., Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Negotiators will reconvene in Atlanta during the final week of September to continue their work on TPP. While negotiators have made meaningful gains on many products, including those important to Nebraska producers, negotiators must take the necessary time to reach the strongest possible comprehensive agreement. During the trade seminar, Nebraska exporters small and large expressed their excitement about the opportunities they see in TPP for their economic success. As Ambassador Vetter noted, TPP is estimated to lead to a $123.5 billion increase in U.S. exports and 650,000 new jobs. Nebraska is already America’s seventh largest exporter of agriculture products, but these TPP figures demonstrate the potential to expand economic opportunity for all Nebraskans – especially in the Third District, the top agriculture producing district in the United States. While TPP has the potential to promote American exports, our producers continue to face trade barriers in foreign markets which are not based on sound science. For example, China’s marketplace presents enormous opportunity for Nebraska agriculture. Unfortunately, the Chinese government’s arbitrary treatment of U.S. biotech products is hindering the ability of American producers to compete on a level playing field and help feed the world. These actions run counter to commitments made last year to bolster science-based agricultural innovation and trade policy. This week, I led 105 Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to make biotech approvals a priority issue with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his official visit to Washington. We are eager for President Obama to further advance U.S. trade by pressing President Xi to meet China’s biotech commitments. Though there are challenges to overcome in opening more markets to Nebraska producers, bipartisan cooperation on trade has allowed our country to move forward on important agreements with trading partners around the world. As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and its Subcommittee on Trade, I will continue working to break down barriers to trade and create more economic opportunity for all Nebraskans in the global marketplace.Read More
Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) released the following statement today after House Speaker John Boehner announced he will resign at the end of October.
“Speaker Boehner’s decision today is an incredible act of humility. John Boehner is a good man who has faced an extremely difficult task in countering the Obama administration while upholding the Constitution. I thank Speaker Boehner for his years of service to our country and wish him all the best.”Read More
Constituents of Third District Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) who need assistance dealing with a federal agency are invited to attend “Caseworker in Your Community” events on Wednesday, September 30, in Ord and St. Paul.
“Caseworker in Your Community” is an opportunity for constituents to meet directly with one of Smith’s congressional caseworkers. Caseworkers may be able to assist constituents who are having problems dealing with a federal agency such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Social Security, Medicare, passports and visas through the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or the Internal Revenue Service.
“Caseworker in Your Community” will be held on Wednesday, September 30, at the following times and locations:
Ord Chamber of Commerce 1514 K Street, Ord, NE 68862 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (CDT)
St. Paul Community Library 1301 Howard Avenue, St. Paul, NE 68873 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (CDT)
For additional information, contact Congressman Smith’s Grand Island office at (308) 384-3900.Read More
2241 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
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.
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