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Medicare Shifting to Competitive Equipment Buying Process; Kathleen Sebelius Comments

Medicare Shifting to Competitive Equipment Buying Process; Kathleen Sebelius Comments - top government contractors - best government contracting event

Medicare Shifting to Competitive Equipment Buying Process; Kathleen Sebelius Comments - top government contractors - best government contracting eventThe White House is working to adapt a new program for procuring Medicare equipment, the New York Times reports.

The shift to a competitive bidding process resulted from a one-year experiment where Medicare solicited bids and awarded contracts to 356 suppliers in nine metropolitan areas.

Medicare's usual fee-for-service process lets beneficiaries to select any supplier of goods and services.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the Times the pilot program reduced costs by $202 million and targeted oxygen equipment, power wheelchairs and mail-order test strips for diabetics.

Throughout the experiment, Medicare closely monitored effects of the switch in competitive bidding to beneficiaries' health care access and mortality rates.

In 2010, Medicare officials extended the competitive bidding for medical equipment to 91 additional markets, equivalent to 100 metropolitan areas, according to the Times.

Officials anticipated the pilot program would expand nationwide by 2016 and save an estimated $42 billion throughout the next decade.

The breakdown in savings includes $17 billion for beneficiaries and $25.7 billion for the Medicare program, the Times reports.

In late March, lawmakers voted to abolish a panel that would examine how to control Medicare costs.

That panel was established through the 2010 healthcare reform law.

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