Bidding Reform Bills Make Slight Gain

House binding bids legislation adds three co-sponsors while Senate companion hovers.

The industry’s latest legislative efforts to reform competitive bidding have gained additional co-sponsors but more grassroots lobbying is required in order to get them passed.

The two bills, launched into the House and Senate at the start of the 114th Congress would require bidders to obtain surety bonds that would force contract winners to live up to the amounts the bid in the program. Together, the companion pieces of legislation are known as the Medicare Competitive Bidding Improvement Act (MCBIA)

Reps. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and John Larson (D-Conn.), who are both members of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced the House bill, H.R. 284. The bill gained an additional seven backers since our last update to hit 41 total co-sponsors so far. The new backers are:

Rep. Eric A. "Rick" Crawford (Ark.)
Rep. Peter T. King (N.Y.)
Rep. Peter J. Visclosky (Ind.)
Rep. Diane Black (Tenn.)
Rep. Renee L. Ellmers (N.C.)
Rep. Robert Pittenger (N.C.)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.)

Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), both members of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced S. 148, the Senate Companion bill, into the upper chamber at the same time as the House bill. Despite the fact that the industry has only recently been able to gain traction in the Senate, that bill continues to hover at just four co-sponsors.

All the more reason for providers to get out and support the industry legislation. Both bills could pass through their respective chambers’ expedited processes, which quickly advance non-controversial bills that have bi-partisan support through the legislative process.

In order for that to happen, providers must help the American Association for Homecare, the state associations and other groups through grass roots lobbying. That effort is a pivotal, given that Round Two of competitive bidding is already in bidding for its re-compete, according to Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare

“We need everybody — it’s all hands on deck,” he said.  “…This is your industry,” Ryan said. “It’s a call to arms.”

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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