Thompson, Altmire Begin Bipartisan Push for Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act

Mar 15, 2011 Issues: Healthcare

Washington, D.C. – Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Representative Jason Altmire (D-PA) today formally introduced H.R. 1041, the Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act, to a standing-room-only audience of reporters, small businesses owners, and consumer advocates. The deficit neutral H.R. 1041, repeals the flawed Medicare Durable Medical Equipment Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program.

Created under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, the DMEPOS program’s goal is to create cost savings. However, both provider and consumer groups have illustrated problems with the program, which will force smaller suppliers from the market and threaten Medicare beneficiaries’ quality of care.

Medicare beneficiaries are entitled to high-quality, low-cost medical equipment and we intend to deliver on this promise by reforming the current bidding program,” Thompson said.  “We must allow for a marketplace where seniors have quality and choice, smaller providers are competing to deliver these supplies, and I ask my colleagues to join in cosponsoring H.R. 1041.”

Under the current Medicare competitive bidding program, smaller medical providers will continue to be forced out of the marketplace, resulting in further decreases in the quality of care.  With fewer providers, prompt deliveries of items and services will be eliminated and Medicare costs will increase because of longer hospital stays, increased institutionalization, and more frequent physician visits. 

CMS’s competitive bidding program limits seniors’ ability to buy highly specialized medical equipment from the local suppliers they know and trust,” Congressman Altmire said. “We have introduced legislation to repeal this misguided program at no new cost to taxpayers. I urge my colleagues to join us in passing this bill and protecting seniors’ access to the quality care they deserve.”

Thompson and Altmire both were elected to Congress from the healthcare sector and since have continued to push for transparency and market competition in the delivery of care. Late in the 111th Congress, both members cosponsored similar legislation which gained the support of 259 members. Through continued education and awareness regarding competitive bidding, Thompson and Altmire plan to meet and surpass previous levels of support. 

Within days of introducing H.R. 1041, the following advocacy organizations have announced their support: 

• Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association
• Brain Injury Association of America
• International Ventilator Users Network
• Muscular Dystrophy Association
• National Council on Independent Living
• National Emphysema/COPD Association
• Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
• International Ventilator Users Network
• UCP/CLASS (formerly UCP/Pittsburgh)
• Three Rivers Center for Independent Living (TRCIL)
• National Association for Homecare and Hospice
• United Spinal Association
• National Spinal Cord Injury Association
• Pennsylvania Association of Medical Suppliers
• American Association for Homecare
• National Association for the Support of Long Term Care