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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

to care for seniors based primarily on price is fundamentally flawed. Not only does the program sacrifice quality of, and access to, care for patients, it has the opposite affect intended: it clears the marketplace of competition by reducing the number of eligible providers. During a trial period of enactment in 2008, of the more than 4,000 providers in the initial bidding areas, only 376 were deemed to have met the bidding program requirements, which were not clearly defined. So 90 percent of the marketplace was closed out of the bidding program, proving that the program depresses competition and limits patient access and choice.

In a recent Washington Post column, George Will overlooked the larger questions about whether a program that aims for the cheapest cost of care with no regard to patient outcomes is the ideal basis for policy to care for older Americans and people with disabilities. A program designed to cut the number of providers would inevitably reduce the ability of Medicare to serve the growing numbers of seniors and other patients who require medical care at home, especially in rural regions. The program constructed by Medicare ignores the services required to provide home medical equipment and therapies and treats home care as if it were a commodity, instead of recognizing it for what it is -- a life necessity.

Contacts: Michael Reinemer, 703-535-1881, michaelr@aahomecare.org; Tilly Gambill, 703-535-1896, tillyg@aahomecare.org.

The American Association for Homecare represents durable medical equipment providers, manufacturers, and other organizations in the homecare community. Members serve the medi
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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