Lawmakers press to repeal DME bidding

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 28, 2011

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Reps. Glenn Thompson (R, Pa.) and Jason Altmire (D, Pa.) have introduced a bill to repeal Medicare's competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies.

The lawmakers said the bidding process forces out smaller medical suppliers and decreases overall quality of care. "CMS' competitive bidding program limits seniors' ability to buy highly specialized medical equipment from the local suppliers they know and trust," Altmire said. Advocates say the process will save Medicare a significant amount of money and reduce the opportunity for fraud.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has completed the first round of competitive bidding, which determined which suppliers could operate in nine major metropolitan areas. The agency has planned an April 5 forum to discuss expanding bidding to the rest of the country.

The potential Medicare savings erased by the bill, the Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act, would be offset by directing the White House Office of Management and Budget to identify and rescind $20 billion in unspent federal funds.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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