Lawmakers Discuss Delaying Medicare Durable Medical Equipment Bidding Program

Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) on Friday circulated a letter in the Senate seeking support for legislation that would delay a competitive bidding program in Medicare for durable medical equipment, CongressDaily reports. The program is scheduled to begin on July 1 (Edney, CongressDaily, 6/9). CMS will select DME suppliers to participate in Medicare based on bids they submit. The 2003 Medicare law mandated the program as part of a larger effort to implement competitive bidding.

In 2008, the program will operate in 10 of the largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas and will apply to 10 of the top durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies product categories. In 2009, the program will expand to an additional 70 MSAs and will continue to expand in future years. The program also will apply to additional product categories in future years. The program likely will result in an average 26% decrease in the prices of medical equipment in the 10 MSAs, according to CMS (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 5/7).

Norman DeLisle, MDRC
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