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Independent Study Concludes Medicare 'Competitive' Bidding Program for Durable Medical Equipment Could Negatively Affect Care Access, Quality, and Choice for Seniors and People with Disabilities
Date:9/14/2010

report.  "Unintended consequences that could result include secondary medical complications, increased emergency department visits and hospital discharge delays, and ultimately, a transition out of the home to more costly facility-based care."

Key findings on the potential repercussions of the so-called Medicare "competitive" bidding program include:

  • Negative Marketplace Implications: The design of the program creates economic incentives that could produce unsustainably low prices and lead to reduced quality and service for Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Limited Choice: Freedom of choice will be challenged for beneficiaries, both in terms of types of suppliers and types of equipment that will be available.
  • Reduced Access: As the number of suppliers is reduced, beneficiaries could experience problems accessing quality equipment and services, especially by geographic area and over time.
  • Less Quality: Under dramatically lowered prices, suppliers may not be able to provide high quality products, and may significantly reduce the services they provide to beneficiaries.

H.R. 3790, a bipartisan bill that replaces the Medicare bidding program with other types of cost-savings, would reduce reimbursements to home medical equipment providers but preserve patient access to medically required equipment and services in the home.  So far, the bill has 255 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives with broad bipartisan support. More than half of both the Democratic and Republican delegations in the House support H.R. 3790.

Patient and consumer groups that support the elimination of Medicare's "competitive" bidding program for durable medical equipment include the ALS Association, the American Association for Respiratory Care, the American Association of People with Disabilities, International V
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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