Industry ratchets up MPP talk

Friday, December 7, 2012

WASHINGTON – HME providers lit up the Capitol Hill switchboard Dec. 4 and 5 with one message: Support the market-pricing program (MPP).

The VGM Group and NAIMES, which spearheaded the efforts, estimate that 1,177 and 200 calls were made, respectively. The state with the most calls was Connecticut (132). Staffers for Rep. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., told NEMED officials that he would take a closer look at H.R. 6490, a bill to replace the current competitive bidding program with MPP, as a result of the calls.

“We have a real shot at it,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare.

At press time, H.R. 6490 had 69 co-sponsors.

Piggy-backing on the calls, NAIMES also hit the Hill on Dec. 5 to visit 26 offices.

“We met with key staff and got extremely positive response,” said Wayne Stanfield, president and CEO of NAIMES. “It was made clear to us that there is an opportunity for this to move. It’s a matter of having the right cosponsors and the stars and moons aligned.”

Part of that alignment: A “doc fix” bill and a tax cut bill that could serve as potential vehicles for H.R. 6490.

“Although all of this is going on, the members are still talking to us and meeting with us,” said Jay Witter, senior director of government affairs for AAHomecare. “That is a positive sign.”

Another positive sign: Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., and Jason Altmire, D-Pa., circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter asking the original co-sponsors of H.R. 1041, their bill to repeal competitive bidding, to support H.R. 6490.

“We need to make sure rank and file lawmakers demonstrate they are in support by sponsoring it,” Bachenheimer said. “It’s important for the leadership to know that if this goes in a final bill that no one is going to object to it, this has universal appeal.”

To view the letter, click here.