Bid policy hurts patients

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Medicare will implement “competitive bidding” in the CSRA by 2013. Currently companies in the CSRA, and those outside of our area, are completing bid proposals to compete for contracts to provide your home medical services.

While Medicare desires to save money by reducing the number of providers and payments rates, Medicare patients may experience changes in the levels of service they have grown accustomed to receiving to remain safe and independent in their homes.

Current data shows a dramatic drop in the use of oxygen, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, hospital beds, wheelchairs and other home medical items in areas where competitive bidding already has been implemented. It is expected that more emergency room visits, hospitalizations and nursing home admissions will result from a reduction in providers of these services to seniors.

For now, you, the physician, the social worker or other referral sources choose local companies to provide your services. But if contracts are awarded as a result of competitive bidding, only companies that receive contracts will be allowed to provide services to you. You may have to change your service provider to a company that is unfamiliar with your current medical conditions.

Home medical equipment and services are one of the most cost-effective alternatives to expensive institutional care, and represent our best solution for controlling spending growth in Medicare. Your health is not a commodity that should be auctioned off to the lowest bidder!

Congress can and should stop the Medicare competitive bidding program for home medical equipment and services, and instead concentrate on eliminating wasteful government spending – not saddling our seniors with cut-rate medical care! We never needed Washington to tell us how to care for our seniors, and we don’t now! Tell Congress to stop these attempts to cut back on senior home care.

Hank Wickware, Tommy Battle, David Petsch, Eric Holgate, Barry Bryant

Augusta

(The writers are Augusta-area home medical service providers.)

Comments (23) Add comment
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carcraft
25756
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carcraft 02/28/12 - 06:26 am
3
3
Well more lies by Obama- If

Well more lies by Obama- If you like your Doctor (or health services provider) you can keep them!

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 02/28/12 - 07:26 am
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Wonder what will happen when

Wonder what will happen when the winning bid is $1 per patient. Do y'all think health care will improve or decline?

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 02/28/12 - 07:43 am
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5
Come on hussein

Come on hussein worshippers-explain what happened to keeping your present doctor as PROMISED BY hussein! I know,we took that staement out of context,right? This is what happens when you pass a law to see what is in it! It only gets worse from here on-fasten your seatbelts!

robaroo
730
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robaroo 02/28/12 - 08:01 am
3
1
I don't have any problem with

I don't have any problem with competitive bidding if the contract requirements are written correctly. I like the idea of us taxpayers getting the most for our money.

If the low bidder fails to meet the requirements, they can be replaced.

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 02/28/12 - 08:03 am
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robaroo,how many will suffer

robaroo,how many will suffer or die before they can be replaced?

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 02/28/12 - 08:05 am
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And btw,when have we ever

And btw,when have we ever gotten more for our money when the government was involved?

Retired Army
17512
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Retired Army 02/28/12 - 08:17 am
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Ummm Copperhead, surley you

Ummm Copperhead, surley you didn't intend to insult the millions of soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, coast guard, policemen, fire fighters by saying we're not getting the most for our money from them did you?

Sarcasm has it's place. Thoughtlessness is just that.

Retired Army
17512
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Retired Army 02/28/12 - 08:24 am
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1
one has to wonder if there is

one has to wonder if there is a "vested' interest by the letter writers. Nope! It's as clear as the nose on your face. I wouldn't want to have my small business compete either, if I could avoid it.

Now if we can get that horrendous "no compete" clause that big pharma paid hundreds of Bush era politicians for done away with maybe we can see some real savings in Medicare.

In light of that provision left us by the Bush administration these letter writers may have a leg to stand on.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 02/28/12 - 08:57 am
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"Come on hussein

"Come on hussein worshippers-explain what happened to keeping your present doctor as PROMISED BY hussein" Strange, I don't see the word "doctor" even mentioned in the LTE. Whatever happened to the right wingers wanting to cut government costs and let the free market decide? Evidently, that goes out the window when you're the one getting the government handouts. These same people would be screaming if, instead of having competetive bids, local government spent their tax dollars on providers that were the most expensive.

faithson
5157
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faithson 02/28/12 - 09:30 am
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0
Lowest bidder... it's the

Lowest bidder... it's the American way isn't it ? thought it was called 'capitalism'. My preference would be to use the same system we have with public utilities... 10% profit with submissions for any price increases to a 'public commission' that decides on increase. Also kill those commercials that 'sell' medical services for FREE to medicaid members.

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 02/28/12 - 10:17 am
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Retired Army,thought you were

Retired Army,thought you were all for hussein backing the afghans killing our troops?

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 02/28/12 - 10:54 am
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"thought you were all for

"thought you were all for hussein backing the afghans killing our troops?" Care to provide a source for this fallacy?

allhans
23619
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allhans 02/28/12 - 11:47 am
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1
Medicare is not a free

Medicare is not a free enterprise...Taking bids here is not making for competition but for cutting expenses. Slower service? That okay.
I guess we got what we asked for. Those living on fixed incomes will feel the loss.

Hussein
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Hussein 02/28/12 - 12:01 pm
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This bidding system was

This bidding system was mandated by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, also known as the Prescription Drug bill. The problem is the way Medicare set up this particular system: The bids are not binding so you can low-ball a bid and then walk away from your bid, which encourages irresponsible bidding. It's also designed to reduce the number of bidding companies (ie, the number of competitors). So it's not a real bidding system. And it's not competitive. And it will reduce access to care, and increase costs and risks for patients. But aside from that, it's a great program. See critique by U. of Maryland Economist and auction expert Peter Cramton: http://www.cramton.umd.edu/papers/health-care.

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 02/28/12 - 02:30 pm
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Techfan,Retired Army said he

Techfan,Retired Army said he backed hussein apologizing to the afghans for having to kill our troops over the burning of paper!

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 02/28/12 - 02:45 pm
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2
Techfan,should we also

Techfan,should we also apologize to the terrorists for forcing them to attack us on 9/11?

burninater
9580
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burninater 02/28/12 - 03:26 pm
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Copperhead and carcraft,

Copperhead and carcraft, y'all seem a little confused on some of this Obamacare business.

If you are paying for your own insurance and subsequent medical care, obamacare does not change what medical providers and services you receive. This bidding policy also does not change that.

If, however, you are dependent on the taxpayer dole for coverage of your healthcare costs, then yes, the government that is paying for your private care will be calling some of the shots. Don't like it? Then don't take public money for private services.

Never thought I'd see the day that a lib would need to remind a con that taxpayer entitlements should be subject to cost control procedures and free market pricing.

If a Republican were implementing these policies, there would be a chorus of hallelujahs at the implementation of competitive bidding, rather than bureaucratic mandate, on a Medicare service entitlement. The more the fringe just reacts knee-jerkedly to anything this administration does, especially policies that they would celebrate if coming from their own party, the less they appear in any way competent to govern.

copperhead
1035
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copperhead 02/28/12 - 03:39 pm
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1
burninater,when a doctor gets

burninater,when a doctor gets $5 per patient,do you think he/she will give you the best care OR see as many $5 patients as possible?

allhans
23619
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allhans 02/28/12 - 03:51 pm
1
3
It is not even the least bit

It is not even the least bit hard to see that Obamacare will hurt those who can least afford it. He talks a good game and then does the opposite while placing the blame for his actions on anybody and everybody else.

burninater
9580
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burninater 02/28/12 - 04:12 pm
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copperhead, this is

copperhead, this is fascinating. Are you saying that the GOVERNMENT has a RESPONSIBILITY to GUARANTEE quality healthcare for its citizens regardless of a citizen's ability to pay? Have I stumbled into the Bizarro ACES forum?

There's only as much money for Medicare as there are TAX DOLLARS to take from that 51% of households we keep hearing about on these forums. Of course, there would be more money if more of the young and healthy entered the insurance risk pool, but barring a MANDATE, how will we achieve that?

Are people starting to connect the dots here yet? Somehow I sincerely doubt it.

motherofmany
2
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motherofmany 02/28/12 - 05:22 pm
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This Medicare Bidding Program

This Medicare Bidding Program for home health care equipment is designed to put small businesses out of business and replace an industry of mom and pops serving their communities with a few national companies. The small businesses are not allowed to stay in the game and accept the lower rates because they cannot service the entire bidding area. Small businesses will close their doors and national chains will prevail. Now I ask – what industry has ever been improved by a few large companies taking over? When it’s my health, or my Mother’s oxygen, I want a provider from my community! Not some faceless company from out of state!

madgerman
236
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madgerman 02/28/12 - 11:12 pm
0
0
i use a CPAP machine and
Unpublished

i use a CPAP machine and could care less who provides my mask parts as long as they are the cheapest period. Lets face it over 250 bucks for vinyl parts for a plastic mask made in another country is a bit steep. And if my health service provider is the one providing a mask parts at the cheapest rate then good for him, if not, maybe he should set his prices at a decent level. BTW my provider is a local company but to me he is faceless as I have never met him because he stays on the golf course and leaves the sales to the ladys who ring up the sales on a cash register. Of course he is considered small business because he has fewer than 500 employees. Of course in a free market the lowest price will drown out the competition every time, just look at Walmart.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 03/01/12 - 08:47 am
1
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It's pretty darn sad when

It's pretty darn sad when people hate the President so much that they would criticize his attempts to defuse a situation that puts our troops in harms way. I'm sure the troops thank you, at least the ones who survive.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 03/01/12 - 08:55 am
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"designed to put small

"designed to put small businesses out of business and replace an industry of mom and pops serving their communities" Sort of like WalMart.

itsanotherday1
42900
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itsanotherday1 03/01/12 - 10:24 am
1
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faithson:"Also kill those

faithson:"Also kill those commercials that 'sell' medical services for FREE to medicaid members."

Yea, I just loved that one on the motorized chair where the "patient" chirped "No Cost, no cost at all..." WHAT??????

motherofmany
2
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motherofmany 03/01/12 - 12:17 pm
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itsanotherday1 - That

itsanotherday1 - That company, with all those offensive commercials, is exactly the kind of company that will win the bid and put the guys who wrote this letter out of business. It's the truth! It already happened with the first round of Medicare Bidding. Check out the guys who wrote this letter. They live here! They have an interest in our community and its success. That late-night advertiser will drop ship your mother a product and never be available to help her with it!

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