Providers Urged to Lobby for MPP
Associations call for HMEs’ support as they work to attach MPP to final ‘doc fix’ in final days of Congressional session.
- By David Kopf
- Dec 15, 2011
Various state and national HME industry associations are calling on providers to lobby on behalf of the Market Pricing Program (MPP) as those associations works to attach the competitive bidding replacement program to legislation that would prevent a cut in physician payment rates, known as the “doc fix.”
A week ago today, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee introduced H.R. 3630, The Middle Class Tax Relief & Job Creation Act, which extends a number of provisions scheduled to expire at the end of the year. These provisions included a provision to prevent a 27.4 percent cut in Medicare physician payment rates slated to begin on Jan. 1, 2012, and instead increase payment rates by 1 percent in 2012 and again in 2013 (the “doc fix”).
While the industry sought to attach the MPP to H.R. 3630, the bill passed without the MPP amendment. However, the bill’s fate in the Senate remains uncertain. The American Association for Homecare reports that the House bill “includes a number of controversial provisions” which makes it a “non-starter in the Senate.” Also, the National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers noted that “President Obama has vowed to veto the bill if it passes the Senate with the Keystone pipeline provisions.”
This uncertainty in Congress’s upper chamber gives the industry yet another opportunity to include the MPP.
“In the last remaining days of this congressional session, the Senate will need to consider its own bill or negotiate with the House on a final package that will be sent to the President,” read a statement from AAHomecare. “Either way, the MPP proposal needs to be included in the final doc fix bill that is signed into law.”
So the associations are calling on providers to contact their Representative and Senators and strongly urge them to contact their respective Democrat and Republican leadership to ask that the MPP proposal be included in the final doc fix bill that is sent to the President. Providers can reach their Representatives’ and Senators’ via the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
Key talking points providers should keep in mind when lobbying on behalf of the MPP:
- The current competitive bidding system has failed and needs to be replaced at the earliest legislative opportunity.
- The MPP is a sustainable pricing system for HME.
- The MPP includes the same HME items as the current Medicare bidding program and is implemented across the country in the same timeframe.
- Under the MPP, two product categories are bid per geographic area. Eight additional product categories in that same area would have prices reduced based on auctions conducted simultaneously in comparable geographic areas.
- MPP bid areas are smaller than metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and more homogeneous.
- Unlike competitive bidding, bids are binding and cash deposits are required to ensure only serious bidders participate.
- The MPP bid price is based on the clearing price, not the median price of winners.
- The same areas that are exempted under the current Medicare bidding program will be exempted under the MPP.
David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.