WASHINGTON, DC – The homecare community took an enormous step towards securing meaningful change in the Medicare competitive bidding program. H.R. 284, the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Improvement Act of 2015 was reported favorably out of the House Committee on Ways and Means on February 26, 2015 via a bipartisan voice vote.
The markup of the Competitive Bidding Improvement Act in the House Ways and Means Committee is a critical step forward for this bipartisan, budget-neutral legislation that will apply common sense improvements to the Medicare bidding process. This was acheived without any further cuts to the DME industry.
AAHomecare has been working with Congress on the language. This is a critical first step in having Congress recognize one of the most serious flaws in the competitive bidding program and substantive action to eliminate it. The Association is dedicated to building upon this effort and making sure this new requirement is effective for the next round of bidding and addressing the drastic cuts in non-competitive bidding areas that are due to take effect on January 1, 2016. The Association wants to reassure members that this is only the first step in addressing this critical issue.
AAHomecare thanks Cara Bachenheimer for working tirelessly over the last year on this issue, in addition to state leaders for their strong grassroots action all across the country which was instrumental in making this issue a priority for members of congress, particularly OAMES and HOMES.
“We are now in a position to bring this bill to a vote in the House,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “This step is a year in the making and reflects the tireless work of homecare advocates, AAHomecare members and Medicare beneficiaries.”
“In this hyper-partisan political environment, you need widespread support to move forward,” said Ryan. “Thanks to the perseverance of the homecare community, we’ve been able to build strong bipartisan support in the House and Senate. AAHomecare maintains its commitment to protecting patient access to quality home medical equipment and services and we’re ready to work with Congress and CMS to see this implemented as soon as possible.”
“The bill Ways and Means considered today will restore accountability, alleviate artificially low prices and deter unlicensed providers,” said Jay Witter, senior vice president of public policy at AAHomecare. “We are hopeful that today’s action by Ways and Means will provide the necessary momentum for the Competitive Bidding Improvement Act to become law immediately.”
Key Facts about the House Ways and Means Committee Markup of H.R. 284, the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Improvement Act of 2015
• H.R. 284, the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Improvement Act of 2015 reported favorably out of the House Committee on Ways and Means on February 26, 2015.
• AAHomecare is urging that the measure go to the floor as soon as possible.
• This markup of the Competitive Bidding Improvement Act in the House Ways and Means Committee is a critical step forward for this bipartisan, bicameral, budget neutral legislation that will bring common sense to the Medicare bidding process.
• This legislation will make all bids binding and require proof of licensure for the next rounds of bidding. It addresses a major flaw in the program and deters speculative bidding without generating a cost.
• There are three main provisions in the bill:
• Providers will need to prove licensure before they submit bids.
• Bidders would be required to obtain a bid bond.
• Bonds will be forfeited if the bidder declines the contract and his bid was at or below the bid price.
• H.R. 284 has 54 cosponsors, including 11 members of the Ways and Means Committee. S. 148 was an identical bill prior to Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wisc.) mark and has six cosponsors.
• Efforts to pass the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Improvement Act of 2015 are being led in the House by Representatives Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Larson (D-Conn.). The Senate bill is sponsored by Senators Portman (R-Ohio) and Cardin (D-Md.). These bills are continuations of legislation originally brought forward in 2014.