Four senators oppose comp. bidding

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Thursday, October 31, 2002

WASHINGTON — The HME industry's lobbying efforts paid off big-time last month when four U.S. Senators made public their opposition to competitive bidding in a letters to Senators Baucus and Grassley.

Baucus and Grassley authored a piece of legislation that would authorize CMS to roll out competitive bidding nationwide in metropolitan statistical areas with populations greater than 500,000.

"It would be unwise to rush to implement a national program, in light of the fact that CMS has instituted only two of the five currently authorized demonstration projects, and in its own report on those projects released last month concluded that it is premature to conclude what the long-term impact of competitive bidding will be," the letter stated.

The letter was signed by Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), Tom Johnson ( D-S.D.), Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) and George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio). Their letter calls into question the CBO's projected savings given the 198 MSA's that would be set up to service nationwide competitive bidding. They urge the Senate to implement the remaining demonstrations authorized by Congress by BBA '97. HME

Interestingly, the Senators reference patient groups — not trade associations — who are opposed to competitive bidding, such as The United Cerebral Palsy Association and the National Home Oxygen Patients Association. HME

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