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Myths and Realities About Medicare's Competitive Bidding Program for Home Medical Equipment and Services
Date:8/19/2011

sparency in the bid program that is "unacceptable in a government auction and is in sharp contrast to well-run government auctions."

These concerns have been shared with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which designed the bidding system. But the agency has dismissed the concerns.  

A September 30, 2010, New York Times' "Freakonomics" article by two of the 167 economists addresses the bidding issue.  Yale University economist Ian Ayres and University of Maryland economist Peter Cramton, conclude: "The mystery is why the government has failed over a period of more than ten years to engage auction experts in the design and testing of the Medicare auction. ... We suspect the problem is that CMS initially did not realize that auction expertise was required, and once they spent millions of dollars developing the failed approach, they stuck with it rather than admit that mistakes were made."  

MYTH #2:  The bidding program will make healthcare more cost-effective.

REALITY: The home is already a highly cost-effective setting for post-acute and long-term care. For many years, home medical equipment providers competed in Medicare on the basis of quality and service to facilitate the hospital discharge process and enable patients to receive cost-effective, high-quality care at home. As more people receive quality equipment and services at home, patients and taxpayers will spend less for hospital stays, emergency room visits, and nursing homes. Home medical equipment is an important part of the solution to the nation's healthcare funding crisis. Home medical equipment represents approximately 1.5 percent of total Medicare spending.  So while this bidding program would make even more severe cuts to reimbursement rates for home medical equipment, that will ultimately result
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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