Walter’s Corner


Almost There: Holding CareFirst Accountable

I want to give you an important update on our longstanding effort to hold CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield accountable to the public and ensure that it spends the excess of its nearly $1 billion surplus on community healthcare needs. The good news is that CareFirst for the first time has admitted that it has excess surplus, and […]

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Testimony by Walter Smith on the Clean up of the Anacostia River

TESTIMONY OF WALTER SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DC APPLESEED CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA – COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT  John A. Wilson Building Room 412 – April 28, 2017 Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Oversight Hearing on the Department of Energy and Environment Good morning Chair Cheh and other members of the […]

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Saluting Roger Wilkins

Roger Wilkins was one of the truly great citizens of the District of Columbia, and DC Appleseed was lucky to work with and be inspired by him. He served on our Advisory Council, worked with us on a number of school reform  issues, was a plaintiff in the D.C. voting rights and commuter tax lawsuits we […]

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A $51 Million Rebate for Area Residents

I have some very good news regarding our longstanding efforts to require CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to spend down its excess surplus. Yesterday, the D.C. Insurance Commissioner ordered the company to rebate $51 million in excess surplus to the more than 200,000 subscribers with D.C.-based CareFirst contracts. This group is primarily D.C. residents, but it includes a significant […]

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A Busy Week: Statehood, CareFirst Reform, Public Safety

It’s been a busy week in the District and at DC Appleseed. We have important updates on three different projects–D.C. Democracy, CareFirst Reform, and Public Safety–and we wanted to let you know about them. Statehood Will Be on the District’s November Ballot On Tuesday, the D.C. Council unanimously approved a resolution calling for a statehood […]

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A $56 Million Victory for the Public

I have some really good news about our longstanding efforts to hold CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield accountable to its nonprofit mission. Your probably remember that almost a year-and-a-half ago–December 2014–the D.C. Insurance Commissioner determined that CareFirst had improperly accumulated more than $268 million of excess surplus. And he ordered the company to file a plan no […]

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Redoubling Efforts for D.C. Democracy

As you may know, a House subcommittee is expected to consider a bill repealing the District’s budget autonomy law tomorrow. When that panel held a hearing on the issue last week, it was clear that there were some serious misunderstandings about the law. It also was clear that the District should now redouble its efforts […]

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The D.C. Council Sets a Deadline for Holding CareFirst Accountable

As you know, it’s been more than a year since CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield failed to file a plan for spending $56 million of its excess surplus on community health needs–as required by District law and the order of the D.C. Department Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB). Responding to this delay, yesterday the D.C. Council unanimously […]

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We Won

By now you have probably heard the excellent news: the D.C. Superior Court ruled on Friday that the local budget autonomy referendum overwhelmingly ratified by the voters is valid law. And shortly afterward, the District’s chief financial officer announced that he now has the “definitive ruling” needed to go forward with implementing the law. This […]

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It’s Time to Hold CareFirst Accountable

It’s now been nearly a year since CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield’s District-based subsidiary, Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. (GHMSI), failed to file a plan for returning $56 million in excess 2011 surplus to the community, as ordered by the D.C. Insurance Commissioner. Even though the Commissioner should proceed carefully in responding to this failure, it […]

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