Senate Proposes Bipartisan Competitive Bidding Bill

Following proposed legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate has introduced a similar bill that would correct what some believe to be flaws in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment (DME). 

Late last week, Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced the bipartisan Medicare Competitive Bidding Improvement Act (MCBIA), or S. 2975, companion legislation to House bill H.R. 4920.

The Senate bill seeks to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to require state licensure and bid surety bonds for entities submitting bids under the Medicare durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS) competitive acquisition program. 

It has three main provisions: Providers must prove licensure before submitting bids; bidders would be required to obtain a bid bond; and bonds could be forfeit if the contract is declined at or above the bid price.

“This companion legislation to H.R. 4920, introduced earlier in the 113th Congress, is budget-neutral, common-sense legislation that will require bidders to stand by their bids and deter efforts to unfairly game Medicare contract auctions for home medical equipment,” writes the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare). 

AAHomecare is among the many in the home medical equipment (HME) industry rallying against competitive bidding. 

Following the Senate’s proposal, the advocacy organization encouraged readers to contact their senators to ask them to support the bill. 

“Whether you are a patient, family member, or caregiver, please help us make sure that your loved ones can get their doctor prescribed home medical equipment (HME) and services that they need from responsible suppliers,” AAHomecare writes. 

Written by Emily Study

Emily Study