Bidding update: A briefing, an op-ed, a list


As winter drags on it may seem like efforts to repeal Medicare’s competitive bidding program move at a glacial pace, but they are moving.

“The conversation is alive and CMS is on the defensive,” Cara Bachenheimer told me yesterday.

As proof of that: On Feb. 12, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., published an op-ed in The Hill, calling for a reform of the bidding process. On Feb. 5, CMS officials were called up to brief members of the House Ways & Means Committee.

“CMS said everything is great, but several members voiced opinions about problems,” said Bachenheimer.

Meanwhile, stakeholders’ eyes remain firmly fixed on the “doc fix,” a potential vehicle for key points of the market-pricing program. Alas, rumors persist that some lawmakers think bid rates should be applied to Medicaid to pay for the fix.

“It’s difficult to know what’s going to happen and everybody on the Hill denies there’s a list,” said Bachenheimer. “We are doing what we can to make sure we stay out of the pay-for package.”

Theresa Flaherty