Walking the Halls of Congress

February 20th, 2012 by @lamberts

Homecare Advocate Blog: Walking the Halls of Congress

How appropriate for Homecare Advocate to report back on our recent trip to Washington DC as we celebrate President’s Day!   George Washington would be proud of the hundreds of people who came from across the country to petition their elected representatives about homecare issues.

Here’s the latest update on our efforts to eliminate the poorly designed auction program that jeopardizes Medicare beneficiary access to quality goods and restricts their ability to choose their provider.

Homecare Advocate Blog: Walking the Halls of Congress

We met with our elected officials to discuss replacing this dangerous program with an economist-backed Market Pricing Program (MPP) that will ensure true savings for the taxpayer without threatening beneficiary harm or access issues to quality goods and services from reputable providers.

What is MPP?

MPP is a reflection of Congress’ goal to create a market-driven health care system with less government-controlled prices. However, unlike the current “Competitive Bidding” program, it has integrity, accountability, transparency, and oversight while ensuring healthy competition among HME companies and real, sharp prices for competitively bid products.  It affects the same product categories as the current program, and would have a national roll-out in July 2013.  Bids will be binding, and the bid price is based off of the clearing price (not arbitrary price-setting as is currently done).  Additional information on the operating principles of MPP may be found here.

Most importantly, MPP resolves the issues that 244 leading economists from around the world have found with the current “Competitive Bidding” program.

How Can MPP Become Law?

Bills are scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to help lawmakers know the cost of implementing the bill.  The homecare industry understands the need for any bill to be budget-neutral in this economic environment, and we believe that MPP will score close to neutral as-is.  However, we are committed to making MPP a budget-neutral alternative to the anti-competitive auction program and will make the necessary adjustments to ensure it can be implemented without costing taxpayers additional money.

There will be limited opportunities to bring MPP to a vote this year with the upcoming election, so it is vital that the Congressional Budget Office scores MPP quickly.  Round Two of Competitive Bidding will affect about half of Medicare beneficiaries throughout the country, and homecare equipment companies are already preparing their bids.  All four metropolitan areas in Tennessee will be included.

Now that our industry has come up with a viable replacement program, we look to our elected officials to be champions for patients and providers. To help, they need to:

  • Contact their colleagues in House Ways & Means and Senate Finance committees
  • Urge their colleagues to request the score from the Congressional Budget Office
  • Support the replacement of Competitive Bidding with the Market Pricing Program

What Can I Do to Help?

Thanks for all of the groundwork help, fellow advocates!

::AWP::

One Response to “Walking the Halls of Congress”

April 30, 2012 at 7:10 am, Martin Patterson said:

Fantastic post, I really like reading your updates.

Reply

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