WASHINGTON, June 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Providers of durable medical equipment and services (DME) required in the home have called on President Obama to repeal Medicare's controversial "competitive" bidding for homecare, which cuts quality and access to care for seniors and people with disabilities.
The program is opposed by the American Association for Homecare and by dozens of patient advocacy groups such as the ALS Association and the American Association of People with Disabilities. In addition, 244 economists recently asked the President to reconsider the bidding program. And so far, 132 members of the House of Representatives have cosponsored H.R. 1041, a bipartisan bill to repeal the program. Homecare providers are urging the President to support that legislation.
In efforts to cut federal spending, federal lawmakers have introduced a series of Medicare reforms over the years. The new bidding program aims to cut Medicare costs by targeting home medical equipment and services, which is a cost-effective yet tiny slice of the Medicare budget (less than 1.5 percent) that has seen reimbursement rates slashed repeatedly over the past 10 years.
The legislation to repeal the bidding program was introduced after hundreds of patients and providers reported problems with the program in the wake of its January 1 implementation. As designed by the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the bidding program severely and arbitrarily restricts the number of companies that are allowed to provide commonly used medical equipment and services. Since the program began, patients, clinicians, and homecare providers have reporte