Back in 2008, I met Michael Leavitt in his capacity as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services for President George W. Bush. Secretary Leavitt was trying to implement a new way for Medicare to buy some medical supplies, categorized as durable medical equipment (DME), through competitive bidding.
At the time, DME was bought using the same, Soviet-style fixed-fee schedules that Medicare uses for doctors and hospitals today. Competitive bidding for DME had actually been legislated in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. In 2014, we know that competitive bidding has saved hundreds of millions of dollars.
And yet, it took years for the Administration to overcome the suppliers’ lobby. Why? I suggest that it is because Medicare beneficiaries themselves did not share in the savings.
Read the entire column at NCPA's Health Policy Blog.