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George Will Column Misguided in Touting 'Competitive Bidding' as a Medicare Solution; Controversial Bidding Program is Actually Anti-Competitive and Lowers Quality of Care and Access to Care for Seniors and Disabled
Date:1/8/2009

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A congressionally mandated "competitive bidding" initiative for home medical equipment -- already the slowest-rising cost in Medicare -- intended to reduce homecare costs will only succeed in reducing the quality of, and access to, care for patients and will drive up costs elsewhere in Medicare. Washington Post columnist George F. Will's recent column on healthcare overlooks the inherent flaws in the bidding program, and fails to recognize that homecare providers already offer what Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt has called a "radically more efficient" and cost-effective setting for healthcare than institutional care.

"There is nothing competitive about what will result from this misconceived program," said Tyler J. Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare. "There will be fewer competitors, fewer homecare services, and lowest-common-denominator healthcare for older Americans and people with disabilities who require medical care at home."

"This bidding initiative will end up selecting a small group of providers that will be forced to deliver the cheapest, lowest quality equipment and cut back on critical services including emergency repair, middle of the night oxygen service, and home visits to address serious patient issues. It is a disaster for senior citizens and disabled patients, especially those who live in rural areas since those areas are already expensive to serve," added Wilson.

The program would allow the government to selectively contract with only a small group of providers. By focusing solely on the lowest-cost, the program would force out providers who utilize high-quality equipment or provide critical services to patients related to the use of that equipment. Under this program, seniors and other homecare patients will face:

  • Longer, more costly hospital stays since
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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