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Seniors and People with Disabilities Will Pay Steep Price for Medicare's 'Competitive' Bidding Program for Home Medical Equipment
Date:7/1/2010

Homecare Association Calls for an End to the Controversial Bidding Program that Will Cost Thousands of Lost Jobs and Business Failures and Will Not Save Money for Seniors

WASHINGTON, July 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seniors and people with disabilities who rely on home medical equipment and services will pay a steep price under Medicare's controversial and mislabeled "competitive" bidding program for durable medical equipment.  

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today that bidding in nine of the country's largest metropolitan areas could save Medicare as much as $17 billion over 10 years for home medical equipment and services. But those alleged savings are the result of "suicide bids" from providers in this ill-advised race to the bottom that will put thousands of homecare providers out of business and reduce patients' access to care. Recognizing that the program is bad healthcare policy, a bipartisan group of 252 lawmakers in the House of Representatives support legislation that would repeal the bidding program.

"The bid prices announced by HHS today will translate into unsustainable reimbursement rates for homecare providers. Over time, it will make it harder for seniors and people with disabilities to get the home medical equipment and services they require to live independently in the most cost-effective post-acute setting – their own homes."

The Medicare bidding program uses economic coercion to force homecare providers to submit unsustainable bids necessary to win a contract. Because Medicare is the largest third-party purchaser of home medical care, its market power effectively coerces providers to bid at unsustainable reimbursement rates to ensure the opportunity to
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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