From: Home Care Magazine

CUMMING, Ga., Sept. 21, 2012—According to the Accredited Medical Equipment Providers of America (AMEPA), nearly 18 months ago University of Maryland, Professor of Economics Peter Cramton held a “Mock Auction” in order to demonstrate an alternative to Medicare’s flawed bidding program called the Market Pricing Program (MPP). Now the program has a chance to become law, as Congressman Tom Price (R-Atlanta, GA) introduced his bill “The Medicare DMEPOS Market Pricing Program Act of 2012” on Friday.

Congressman Price serves on the Ways and Means Committee, one of the committees of jurisdiction for healthcare policies. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are three members of the Energy & Commerce Committee who are original cosponsors of the bill. This means that members from both of the committees, which create healthcare policies, approve the legislation. This gives tremendous credibility to the bill and confidence to other Members of Congress who are not involved on any health-care committees. Since Castor and Barrow are Democrats, the bill’s introduction is bi-partisan. The bill has 13 original cosponsors including:

Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA-04)

Rep. John Barrow (D-GA-12) – Energy & Commerce

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) – Energy & Commerce

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA-01)

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL-11) – Energy & Commerce

Rep. Theodore Deutch (D-Fl-19)

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC-02)

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA-03)

Rep. Steve King (R-IA-05)

Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA-04)

Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-OH-14)

Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12)

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC-02)

The MPP, was designed by proven, successful auction experts that will make common sense changes to the current bidding format. It will give Medicare the same savings without compromising patient access and without needlessly closing experienced and established, local providers.

The MPP will make bids binding, and require bidders to submit bid bonds. This would deter out-of-area, inexperienced companies (without any intention or ability to serve patients) from undercutting local established companies. It would also reduce the coverage area from large, multi-county areas to single counties. This will allow smaller companies to easily cover the areas affected by the bid. It would also ensure access for beneficiaries who are now forced to travel into other counties to find services, because in Round 1 of the program, some counties do not currently have a single contracted supplier operating there.

The MPP will also create bid rates according to an accurate “Clearing Price,” where supply and demand intersect. This would replace the “Median Bid Price,” which is simply an arbitrary number in the middle of a list and has no relation to what is actually possible in the market place.

Finally, the MPP would require CMS to offer transparency. A third party “Market Monitor” will evaluate the effects of the program and suggest adjustments to contract prices.

The introduction of the MD-MPP has occurred just before Representatives leave Washington for nearly eight weeks of district work and the November General Election. Congress resumes, Tuesday November 13, a week after Election Day. This is a great opportunity to meet with your legislators while they are home about co-sponsoring the MD-MPP.

The MD-MPP is not a repeal of Competitive Bidding. It keeps the same areas and bid items of the program with common sense changes. Therefore all of the current 173 cosponsors of the HR-1041 repeal bill should have no problem immediately cosponsoring the Price Bill. Let your member of Congress know that they can contact Congressman Tom Price’s office to co-sponsor the bill. A bill number and bill text will be available next week. Stay tuned for more information about the bill’s progress. Click here for Professor Cramton’s video explaining the principles of the MPP.