As many Homecare Advocate readers know, there is a controversial program being rolled out nationwide by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that has patient advocacy groups, economists, auction experts, and the homecare provider community up in arms. This program, dubiously called “Competitive Bidding” has been widely recognized as a poorly designed auction program that fails to meet Congress’ objectives of saving taxpayer money while fostering healthy competition among quality home medical equipment companies. You can learn more about the problems of Competitive Bidding on our blog and here.
However, we have good news!
Careful collaboration between expert auction designers, the HME Industry, and beneficiaries resulted in an auction program to replace Competitive Bidding, called the Market Pricing Program (MPP).
MPP complies with the original intent of Congress as a model that offers real, sustainable savings through market-driven competition while protecting beneficiaries. The Market Pricing Program is budget neutral, saves Medicare & taxpayers money, finds the true market price of equipment and services, makes provisions for small businesses, and does not have the unintended consequences that Competitive Bidding is well known for.
10 key points of MPP include:
- Budget neutral, so it won’t cost taxpayers any more money
- Binding bids for bidders, requiring that companies bid real prices that they are held to
- Price set at Clearing Price instead of the Median Price of bid winners, so winning companies are not forced to provide goods/services at a loss
- Transparency and oversight of the program, allowing you to see how the program is being run and what any adverse effects are
- Smaller bid areas each bid 2 product categories, reducing the risk of mass business closures
- Use of lead product in category for pricing, thus eliminating potential for “gaming” of the system
- Designed by expert economists with input from industry and consumer groups, utilizing best practices of auction design for a solvent, sustainable, responsible program
- Same product categories, targeting the highest-cost areas of medical equipment
- Same protections for small businesses & rural areas, safeguarding these vulnerable areas
- Same timeframe, allowing taxpayers to see immediate financial savings
Congressman Tom Price introduced legislation in September to replace Competitive Bidding’s disastrous program with MPP as a budget-neutral, industry and economist-backed alternative, in the bill HR 6490.
This legislation resolves the serious and consequential problems that Competitive Bidding continues to have in its current form. This bill has explicit and detailed directions on how Competitive Bidding will be replaced and the Market Pricing Program (MPP) will be enacted. Want more information on MPP? Visit these informative sites here, here, and here.
So, we have a bill. What now?
We need your help! Contact your elected officials and tell them that you want them to co-sponsor HR 6490 to repeal Competitive Bidding and replace it with the Market Pricing Program.
Let them know how this will impact you as their constituent. Are you a Medicare beneficiary? Explain your concerns about access to quality equipment from your choice of local provider. Are you a family caregiver? Explain how going to a different provider for each piece of medical equipment is going to be difficult to manage. Does someone in your family work for a Home Medical Equipment Company? Explain your concerns for them losing their jobs–and for the entire business to close as result of Competitive Bidding. And most importantly, tell them that you want their support and co-sponsorship of HR 6490!
For information on how to reach your elected officials and for a sample letter you may customize as you see fit, please visit this site.