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Medicare Bidding System for Medical Equipment Plagued by Flaws, Delays, Lack of Transparency
Date:11/3/2010

logy, concludes that the fundamental flaws in the Medicare bidding system will prevent any "quick fix." A draft report of the study dated October 2010 concludes that:

  • Good auction architectures for procurement applications do exist.
  • The proposed Medicare supplies auction is not a good procurement auction. It is based on an inappropriate architecture that cannot deliver services at competitive rates and qualities.
  • The Medicare supplies auction architecture cannot be adjusted in some simple way. There is no "quick fix". The two central pillars of the auction are flawed. First, the price determination by the median accepted bid is not an appropriate method for determining price. Second, the ability of bidders to cancel bids is an inappropriate guide for competitive bidding strategies.

See the full study at http://www.cramton.umd.edu/papers2010-2014/caltech-experiments-on-medicare-auction.pdf.

In fact, the design of this bidding system is so badly flawed that 166 economists and auction experts, including two Nobel laureates, have urged key congressional leaders and committees in Congress to scrap the system and start over.  See letters at: http://www.cramton.umd.edu/auction-papers.htm#Medicare.  

"Given the critical findings of the new study, along with concerns expressed by the 166 economists and by disability groups such as the ALS Association and the American Association for People with Disabilities, we're not surprised that CMS has been unable to get the program off the ground," said Tyler J. Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare. "Moreover, reimbursements and copayments have already been cut by about 50 percent over the past 10 years and significant anti-fraud measures are already in pla
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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