Pro-Competition vs. Pro-Business

Jay Greene of The Detroit Free Press (h/t Kaiser Health News) reports,

The regulation — which establishes a competitive bidding process for companies that provide medical home equipment to Medicare patients and also limits the number of companies under contract — could drive out of business up to 90 percent of the roughly 500 Michigan home health supply vendors. …

Last year, Serra [vice president of Henry Ford Health Products] formed a grassroots organization of 85 hospital-based home health suppliers — the National Hospital Coalition on Durable Medical Equipment — to lobby for changes in CMS rules or possibly to seek federal legislation to change the regulations. …

Medicare’s competitive bidding program, which was mandated by Congress in 2003 and later modified in 2008, is intended to save Medicare more than $1 billion annually.

In an interview, a Medicare official who declined to be named said hospitals and doctors have an exemption that allows them to bill Medicare outside contracts for certain products, including walkers, infusion pumps and home glucose monitors, if patients require the equipment immediately.

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