House Bill Looks to Axe Round 2 of CMS Bid Program

Last night, the efforts of two Congressmen introduced a bill that will prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from implementing Round 2 of its competitive bidding program.

H.R. 1717, the Medicare DMEPOS Market Pricing Program Act of 2013, will stop the bidding program, forcing CMS to adopt a market-based approach to determine prices for home medical equipment prescribed by doctors for Medicare beneficiaries, rather than relying on administrative price setting. 

The bill is a “major victory” for Medicare patients, according to home care advocates.

“The market-based approach advocated by Rep. Price is supported by numerous patient advocacy groups, as well as by the home care industry,” said Joel D. Marx, chairman of Medical Service Company in Cleveland, Ohio, and of the American Association for Homecare board of directors. 

The bill guarantees that Medicare beneficiaries will continue to have full access to home medical equipment services in a timely, competitive manner, said Marx. 

Round 2 has garnered criticism from over 240 economists, patient advocacy groups and companies that provide home medical equipment through Medicare, according to the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare).

The biggest complaints surrounding Round 2 of the bidding program is that it is anti-competitive and results in widespread job losses and company closings, which in turn end up hurting beneficiaries’ abilities to receive medical equipment prescribed by their doctors.

“H.R. 1717 will ensure that Medicare achieves its goal of reimbursing for home medical equipment using a market-based price,” said Tyler Wilson, president of AAHomecare. “The price proposal presents a better system for beneficiary access to quality care and it will crate an improved business environment for companies that provide home medical equipment.” 

Written by Jason Oliva