AAHomecare Reacts to the Advancement of “Doc Fix” Bill Without MPP
The urgency in getting the MPP measure passed was stressed by Hamilton. He stated the need to spread the pain around competitive bidding, adding that it could kill people and cost jobs. Hamilton also said that only the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has serious opposition to MPP.
In a preemptive press release issued by CMS just before conference participants went to Capitol Hill, the agency said that competitive bidding does not have an impact on the health of Medicare beneficiaries. CMS said it has released a much broader analysis data that shows there were no problems with competitive bidding. However, AAHomecare officials believed that the press release was a step made by CMS to save a badly flawed program.
Meanwhile, at the conference, economists Peter Cramton of the University of Maryland and Brett Katzman also spoke out against competitive bidding. Cramton opposed to the expansion of the program to another 91 metropolitan areas in Round 2, while Katzman called the program a misnomer saying the program is not competitive.
Stakeholders Face Set Back at Legislative Conference
At the eve of the AAHomecare Washington Legislative Conference, lawmakers announced they were close to a compromise package on the payroll tax cut extension. This affected HME stakeholders’ plan to ask lawmakers to include the market-pricing program (MPP) in the package during the meetings on Capitol Hill. The approve compromise package includes a delay to a 27% cut in Medicare payments to physician.
AAHomecare vice president of government relations Walt Gorski believes that the fight is not over as some lawmakers indicated that they would support providers in pressing the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) for a score for MPP. In addition, it was evident during a meeting between the members of the New England Medical Dealers Association (NEMED) and an assistant to Sen. John Kerry that lawmakers favored MPP than H.R. 1041, a bill that would repeal the program. Kerry’s aide mentioned that their office would try to schedule a bipartisan hearing with the CMS regarding MPP. But with the Round 2 bidding window closing on March 30, time is very tight to get anything done.
Fight Against Competitive Bidding Gains Online Support
An online petition, which was a brainchild of an HME provider’s daughter, has gained traction ahead of AAHomecare’s Washington Legislative Conference. It attracted 1,500 signatures from 15 state and regional HME associations. The petition originated with Peter Falkson and Eric Cohen, both members of the New England Medical Equipment Dealers Association (NEMED), and started with a conversation about competitive bidding Falkson had at home.
The idea of the online petition came when Falkson was telling his wife about how poorly aligned competitive bidding was when his daughter Zoe, who was listening to the conversation, suggested the idea which she had done in her class. She had previously participated in a petition drive that prompted Universal Studios to change the trailer of the movie “The Lorax” because it was incorrectly marketed. The website used to create the online petition was Change.org.
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