Sen. Portman Cheers House Passage of H.R. 284

Lawmaker calls on peers in upper chamber to pass companion legislation that would require binding bids for competitive bidding.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) released a statement applauding the House’s passage of H.R. 284, the lower chamber’s portion of the Medicare Competitive Bidding Improvement Act (MCBIA).

"I’m pleased that the House has passed this commonsense legislation, and I look forward to continuing to work for passage in the Senate,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

The MCBIA prevents the competitive bidding program’s suicide bidding flaw by requiring bidders in the Round Two re-compete and all future bids to obtain surety bonds that force them to accept bidding contracts. If a bidder declines a contract that is at or above its bid amount, the bidder forfeits the bond.

Sen. Portman and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) — who are both members of the Senate Finance Committee — launched the Senate companion bill, S.148, at the beginning of this year.

“It’s important that we’re taking steps to ensure seniors have access to the medical supplies they rely on,” Portman said in a public statement. “Our bill will increase transparency and fairness in the bidding process, while also promoting competition and ensuring that seniors have increased access to quality medical supplies. I’m pleased that the House has passed this commonsense legislation, and I look forward to continuing to work for passage in the Senate.”

Now, Sens. Portman and Cardin, along with industry advocates and associations, such as the American Association for Homecare, will focus their efforts on moving the rest of the Act to a vote in the upper chamber. In addition to Sens. Portman and Cardin, the bill has three more co-sponsors, Sens. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.). Industry advocates are calling on providers to help lobby on behalf of the bill in order attract additional signatures to S.148.

“This bill will help restore accountability, alleviate artificially low prices, and deter unlicensed providers,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “ … We will continue to work with lawmakers in the Senate to call for quick action on this bipartisan and budget-neutral legislation.”

Full text of S.148 can be found at http://1.usa.gov/1AW3kv3.

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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