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Patient and Disability Groups Support Bill to Begin Market Pricing System for Home Medical Equipment in Medicare
Date:11/14/2012

are has received reports from hundreds of Medicare patients about their difficulties finding local equipment and service providers, delays in obtaining medically required equipment and care, and fewer choices when selecting equipment and providers.

In the New York Times Freakonomics blog on September 21, 2012, economist and Yale Law School Professor Ian Ayers described the problems with the current bidding system and concluded, "Congress and the White House must act to reform the Medicare auction. If we do not effectively apply market methods to health care, Medicare is unsustainable."

MARKET PRICING THROUGH BETTER DESIGNED AUCTIONS

As professional auction designers have explained to Congress and the White House, the current Medicare bidding system for DME allows non-binding bids. That leads to irresponsible bids and unsustainable prices and does nothing to ensure that winning bidders are qualified to provide the required medical equipment and services to Medicare beneficiaries.

The market pricing program is based on recommendations by economists and auction experts who have studied the current program. That program features an auction system to establish market-based prices and would require Medicare to make fundamental changes to ensure the long-term viability of the program. Key components include:

  • The market pricing program is designed to achieve an accurate market price.
  • It is designed to save the same dollars as the existing Medicare competitive bidding system.
  • Bids are binding for the bidders and cash deposits are required to ensure that only serious homecare providers participate.
  • The bid price is based on the clearing price (not the median price) of winners.
  • The program includes the same equipment and services as the current bidding system and would
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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