Majority in House support Round 2 delay

Thursday, June 13, 2013

WASHINGTON – A “Dear Colleague” letter calling for CMS to delay Round 2 of competitive bidding has garnered 227 lawmaker signatures, Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., and Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, announced at a press conference June 13. 

“We are concerned that mishandling of the bidding process, as outlined in the letter, will impact Medicare’s ability to serve its beneficiaries and the taxpayers,” Thompson said. “We urge the administrator to do the right thing and delay the program through the end of 2013 to allow for adequate investigation and correction of the significant problems that we have identified.”

CMS plans to implement Round 2 on July 1.

The letter, which began circulating May 20, earned support from a majority of lawmakers in the House from both sides of the aisle in less than a month. 

“When the government picks winners in a flawed bidding system for the medical equipment business, seniors on Medicare and the small businesses that serve them lose,” Braley said. “The free market should be allowed to work within Medicare, and a bipartisan group of representatives comprising a majority of the U.S. House agree.” 

Of the 227 lawmakers supporting the delay, 145 are Republicans and 82 are Democrats. Among them: Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who introduced H.R. 1717, a bill to replace competitive bidding with a market-pricing program (MPP). His bill currently has 119 co-sponsors. 

“The fundamental failings of the current DMEPOS competitive bidding program is a threat to patients, families, physicians, and providers,” Price said. “To ensure Medicare is successfully serving its beneficiaries, we ought to delay implementation of the current bidding program as requested by a bipartisan majority in Congress and then move to real reform of the program to make it truly market-based.”

Lawmakers released a video of the press conference and a copy of the letter to the press.