Medicare: Competitive Bidding for Medical Equipment and Supplies Could Reduce Program Payments, but Adequate Oversight Is Critical

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "For more than a decade, GAO has reported that Medicare has paid higher than market rates for medical equipment and supplies provided to beneficiaries under Medicare Part B. Since 1989, Medicare has used fee schedules primarily based on historical charges to set payment amounts. But this approach lacks flexibility to keep pace with market changes and increases costs to the federal government and Medicare's 44 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 required the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)--the agency that administers ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. May 6, 2008.

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Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "For more than a decade, GAO has reported that Medicare has paid higher than market rates for medical equipment and supplies provided to beneficiaries under Medicare Part B. Since 1989, Medicare has used fee schedules primarily based on historical charges to set payment amounts. But this approach lacks flexibility to keep pace with market changes and increases costs to the federal government and Medicare's 44 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 required the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)--the agency that administers Medicare--to test competitive bidding as a new way to set payments. CMS did this through a demonstration in two locations in which suppliers could compete on the basis of price and other factors for the right to provide their products. The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) required CMS to conduct competitive bidding on a large scale and suppliers to obtain accreditation. GAO was asked to describe the effects that competitive bidding could have on Medicare program payments and suppliers and the need for adequate oversight to ensure quality and access for beneficiaries in a competitive bidding environment. This testimony is based primarily on GAO work conducted from May 1994 to January 2007, which GAO updated by interviewing CMS officials and reviewing agency documents."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 6, 2008

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Medicare: Competitive Bidding for Medical Equipment and Supplies Could Reduce Program Payments, but Adequate Oversight Is Critical, text, May 6, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc292602/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.