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American Association for Homecare Applauds President Obama's Plan to Aid Small Businesses
Date:3/18/2009

Vast Majority of Home Medical Small Businesses Will Be Closed Because of Medicare Bidding Plan

ARLINGTON, Va., March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association for Homecare applauds President Obama's plan to support struggling small businesses by providing $15 billion in loans to loosen lines of credit. However, the President and the administration could do more and save thousands of additional small businesses in the Medicare home medical equipment (HME) sector by rescinding the last-minute "competitive" bidding regulations issued by the Bush administration. Those regulations, which will have a negative effect on both patients and HME providers, are set to go into effect next month.

"The current 'competitive' bidding initiative in Medicare is a proposal that actually reduces competition, reduces access to quality care for patients, and shuts out thousands of home medical equipment providers -- many of which are small businesses," said American Association for Homecare President Tyler J. Wilson. "The process selectively contracts with a limited number of homecare providers based solely on the lowest-bid prices. This results in lowest-common-denominator health care for seniors and people with disabilities, and it results in job losses and bankruptcies for HME providers at a time when the government is trying to preserve jobs," added Wilson.

Despite its misleading title, "competitive" bidding is actually anti-competitive. During its initial implementation in 2008, the vast majority of providers were shut out of the program, proving that the bidding program, in fact, depresses competition and limits patient access and choice. Under this program, most small HME businesses will be forced to close their doors.

This systematic elimination of thousands of homecare providers threatens the quality of and access to care for patients who rely on homecare services and equipment. By incr
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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