Maine Medical Equipment Providers Back Congressional Bill to Repeal Flawed Medicare Bidding Program
PORTLAND, Maine, May 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Maine home medical equipment and services (HME) providers support H.R. 1041, a bipartisan bill in Congress to repeal the controversial Medicare "competitive" bidding program for home medical equipment and services.
"If competitive bidding is not repealed, both Maine businesses and Medicare patients will suffer. Despite its misleading name, the design of this program actually limits competition and access to homecare products and services. Four critical suppliers have already closed their doors due to cuts and increased regulation, and the program has yet to be implemented in Maine," said Jim Greatorex, President of Black Bear Medical, Inc. in Portland. "We cannot sit by idly and wait for patients to experience potentially life-threatening problems before we stop this runaway train. We need to sound the alarm now and tell Congress to implement H.R. 1041 to ensure that the health of our seniors and those living with disabilities is not put at risk."
The bidding program affects millions of Medicare beneficiaries nationwide who require oxygen therapy, enteral nutrients (tube feeding), continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) and respiratory assistive devices, power wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds and support surfaces, and mail-order diabetic supplies. The program was implemented on January 1 in nine metropolitan areas and it begins in an additional 91 areas later this year. The first nine areas are Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, Pittsburgh, and Riverside, California.
The bill to repeal the bidding program, H.R. 1041, has 98 cosponsors so far in the House of Representatives with broad support from both Republicans and Democrats, including Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Me.).
CONSUMER GROUPS, MARKET EXPERTS ALSO BACK REPEAL OF BID PROGRAM
A number of patient advocacy and consumer groups also support H.R. 1041 in