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84 Members of Congress, Led by Rep. Betty Sutton, Urge Policymakers to Rescind Controversial Medicare 'Competitive' Bidding Rule Before April 18 Deadline
Date:4/16/2009

Congressional Members Address Negative Impacts of the Program on Patients & Businesses Nationwide in Letter to the White House & Department of Health and Human Services

WASHINGTON, April 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a letter sent yesterday, a bipartisan group of 84 members of Congress urged the White House Office of Health Reform, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to review and rescind the controversial "competitive" bidding rule before it is implemented on April 18, 2009. Representatives signing the letter include Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and John Lewis (D-Ga.).

The bidding program, which was initially suspended by Congress in 2008 because of numerous flaws detected, will lower quality and reduce access to care for seniors and people with disabilities. The current version of the bidding program will put at least 90 percent of providers - many of which are small businesses - out of work at a time when unemployment is high and government is already fighting to protect jobs.

"As growing numbers of seniors enter the Medicare program, it is important that we take care to maintain an adequate number of qualified and capable providers to address demand for care in the home, especially in rural areas," said Betty Sutton, a U.S. Representative from Ohio's 13th District.

The current structure of the program bears no resemblance to earlier demonstration programs in Florida and Texas in 1997 and 1998. The current bidding program is actually anti-competitive because it will selectively contract with a small group of homecare providers based on the lowest bid, forcing out providers who utilize high-quality homecare equipment or provide critical patient services. These selective contracts would result in the immediate elimination of thousands of eligible small businesses throughout t
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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