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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

continue serving Medicare beneficiaries. Ultimately, the below-market rates achieved through this bidding program will force thousands of businesses to close, reducing competition in the long term and reducing seniors' access to care and choice of providers.  

Congress delayed the implementation of this bidding program in 2008 to allow for needed changes, and the home medical equipment sector paid for that delay by taking a 9.5 percent nationwide reimbursement cut to pay for the projected savings from the initial round of the program. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ignored congressional intent, did not address the flaws that precipitated the delay two years ago, and is now recklessly charging forward with the program in nine of the 10 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S.  An additional 91 areas will be subjected to the bidding process next year.

A broad, bipartisan group of 252 members of the House of Representatives has cosponsored legislation in Congress, H.R. 3790, to stop the bidding program and replace it with a fiscally responsible measure to reduce payment rates for homecare but preserve the ability of home medical providers to continue serving Medicare beneficiaries.

Other organizations that support the elimination of Medicare's bidding program for home medical equipment include the ALS Association, the American Association for Respiratory Care, the American Association of People with Disabilities, International Ventilator Users Network, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Emphysema/COPD Association, National Spinal Cord Injury Association, Post-Polio Health International, and United Spinal Association, among others.

"This bidding program will further reduce reimbursement rates for home medical care which have already been cut to the bone," Wilson said. "The program wi
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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