HHS Likely to “Vastly Expand” Medicare Competitive Bidding to Other Health Sectors
WASHINGTON, May 10, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Medicare’s competitive bidding program for Durable Medical Equipment can easily be applied to in-pharmacy diabetic supplies, laboratory services, prescription drugs and even physicians. Providers of all types of medical equipment, supplies and services should recognize that CMS’s fatally-flawed “competitive” bidding program can and will be applied to their own practice areas.
Secretary Sebelius has already announced that HHS will “vastly expand the use of competitive bidding….” In expanding the program, the Secretary ignored a Congressional Budget Office warning that “If they [HHS] don’t change the mechanism they use, I think there is a high probability of failure in the near future. There is near certainty of failure sometime down the road.”
HHS’ competitive bidding mechanism is to select winning bidders based on the companies’ non-binding promises.
The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness has released a detailed analysis showing why the Medicare bidding program is bound for failure. CRE has submitted it analysis to the White House to seek its assistance in stopping the negative effect the competitive bidding program has on seniors and its impact on decreasing employment.
CRE’s analysis is available on their Competitive Bidding Interactive Public Docket http://www.thecre.com/blog/2012/05/cms-is-likely-to-expand-their-defective-competitive-bidding-system-to-other-health-sectors/
HHS’ immediate goal is to expand the DME competitive bidding from fewer than ten cities to virtually the entire country. The expansion is underway even though HHS’ own data indicates that the program is harming seniors. An academician analyzing HHS’ competitive bidding data concluded that the agency-documented decline in DME utilization leads to “a higher risk of death, a higher frequency of ER visits and hospitalization, and longer hospital stays.”
As health care budgets become tighter, greater federal use of competitive bidding is expected.
The Medicare competitive bidding program operates by drastically reducing the number of qualified DME suppliers. Only the handful of firms picked by HHS are permitted to provide Medicare patients with in-home equipment and services. Other companies have the choice of being taken over or going out of business.
All health care sectors have a vested interest in ensuring that the DME competitive bidding program is vetted before being expanded to other sectors.
SOURCE The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness
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