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Competitive Bidding Wars


Based on the reports of early trials awarding bids for medical equipment in the Medicare Competitive Bidding plan, there appears to be a rift between Medicare officials and industry leaders such as the American Association for Homecare. Proponents of the program indicate a substantial savings in just a nine city test area during this one year sampling. However, opposition believes this will negatively affect level of care as well as the thousands of small medical equipment suppliers nationwide on complete rollout.

In an article published by the New York Times, Medicare officials boast a savings of 42% in the nine city test market with a negligible amount of recipient dissatisfaction. In defense of the small medical suppliers country-wide, Medicare officials indicate that many of the companies receiving contracts are in the more common $3-5 million/year revenue bracket, not the larger corporations. According to their service center, complaints regarding products, prices, or suppliers totaled 151 out of the 2.3 million affected.

Representatives of the American Association for Homecare paint a much different picture indicating an influx of complaints from Medicare recipients. Complaints range from the availability of suppliers and products to the restrictions placed on availability of equipment. The major concern is in the long term effect when competitive bidding has been expanded to all areas. Questions abound:  Will recipients be able to locate suppliers? Will suppliers be able to deliver on their promise? Will the restrictions on available products increase acute and long term care visits?

Despite the concerns, Medicare proponents intend to rollout the competitive bidding process with a projected savings of $42 billion in the next ten years alone. Weigh in on the Competitive Bidding Wars debate at today!

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