VGM Group roots out NCB opposition

Monday, March 31, 2003

WATERLOO, Iowa - The VGM Group ramped up its efforts to stave off competitive bidding in February by initiating a new grassroots lobbying effort.

The turnkey package gives providers - VGM members and non-members - everything they need to deliver to AARP and other beneficiary-laden civic groups a 10-15 minute presentation against competitive bidding. Dealers can then give attendees a form to sign they can send to their Washington representatives. The form informs lawmakers that: “Competitive bidding for my home medical equipment will mean the end of free choice and quality of care. Please do not support this bad health-care policy.”

As lawmakers - and President Bush - have begun looking favorably upon Medicare HMOs as a way to save money, talk of competitive bidding on the Hill has died down, but it is by no means dead, said John Gallagher, VGM’s vice president of government affairs.

To kill it, the industry needs help, he said.

“The only way to kill competitive bidding is by marshalling the forces of the beneficiaries,” Gallagher said. HME