USA TODAY's editorial "Medicare bidding competition in danger: Our view" argued that the current Medicare competitive bidding program is producing "big savings and has the potential to cut costs even more." It went on to charge both of us, as co-sponsors of a bill that would fix many of the dangerous and costly practices in this program, as having sinister motives.
These charges are unfounded and serve as a distraction from the dangerous practices being undertaken by the so-called competitive bidding program. This program has morphed into a nightmare of new bureaucratic headaches and unintended consequences. Throughout the country, health agencies, medical supply companies and local pharmacies will all suffer as a result of a bidding process that lacks transparency.
The new competitive bidding process imposes artificial contract prices, permits non-binding bids, and shifts the costs to other Medicare categories -- thereby nullifying any of the supposed savings. This is not how a market works.
The goal of this program is to save money and allow the free market to determine prices so that people receiving benefits from Medicare will have the best, most efficient care possible. Unfortunately, due to the way this program has been set up and administered, it is doing the exact opposite.