The medical practice of Kim Schrier, the Democratic candidate running in Washington's competitive 8th congressional district, does not accept most poor children on Medicaid and Republicans are hitting the Democratic hopeful on the issue.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based group backed by Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.), released its first television advertisement today criticizing Schrier, a pediatrician at the Virginia Mason Medical Center who took a leave of absence to run for office, over the practice that will run in the Seattle market and on digital platforms in the district.
The criticism stems from Schrier's practice turning away a majority of children seeking services on Medicaid.
In the state of Washington, Medicaid goes by the name of Apple Health, which provides preventative care services such as cancer screenings. Apple Health manages plans through five insurers including Amerigroup, Coordinated Care, Molina Healthcare, Community Health Plan, and UnitedHealthcare.
The Virginia Mason Medical Center does not accept insurance plans through Amerigroup, Coordinated Care Corporation, Molina Healthcare, or Community Health Plans of Washington. The only provider on Apple Health that the center accepts is UnitedHealthcare.
Schrier was criticized during the Democratic primaries over the issue.
Jason Rittereiser, a lawyer who ran against Schrier for the Democratic nomination, criticized the pediatrician during a May forum in the district.
"Dr. Schrier, how are we going to trust that you are going to fight for health care in D.C. when you built a practice here that has refused to treat the vast majority of poor kids on Medicaid?" Rittereiser said, according to the Seattle Times.
"That's a little bit of jockeying with the truth there," Schrier responded. "I see kids from all backgrounds. I see kids on Medicaid. … I don't look at insurance when they walk through the doors."
Rittereiser's campaign sent an email the next day stating that he was attempting to hold Schrier accountable "for her medical practice's policy of refusing to treat over 80 percent of children in King County on Apple Health."
Schrier previously said that the group does "restrict the number of the patients" because they would not be able to "stay afloat" if they were to accept all of them.
"The medical group that I work for, which is a hospital affiliated group, does see people from all backgrounds, including patients on Medicaid," Schrier said. "They do restrict the number of those patients, simply because, my understanding of it is that they would not be able to stay afloat if they took all. And that is one of the problems with our medical system, that if we all has the same coverage from the same body this would not be an issue. We would have equal care for every person in this country."
The Democratic candidate reported earning $164,384 in 2017 while pulling in $173,094 in 2016. Schrier, along with her husband, have a net worth valued between $2,823,036 and $13,021,099, according to her 2018 disclosure forms.
"In her own words, Kim Schrier admitted that her practice refused to help poor kids on Medicaid—choosing personal wealth over treating poor kids," said Courtney Alexander, the Congressional Leadership Fund's communications director. "Washington families can’t trust Kim Schrier to fight for them after she turned her back on kids in need."
Schrier, who is facing Republican Dino Rossi in the district, is attempting to flip party control of the seat that is being vacated by Republican representative Dave Reichert.
Schrier's campaign did not return a request for comment by press time.