MPP bill squeaks in under the wire
WASHINGTON – Stakeholders on Friday afternoon eased their collective breath when Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., introduced a bill for the industry's market-pricing program (MPP) just prior to a lengthy recess leading up to the elections.
That recess gives providers plenty of time to talk up H.R. 6490, the "Medicare DMEPOS Market Pricing Program Act of 2012," and get additional co-sponsors, say stakeholders.
"Make it an election issue," said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. "Talk about how and why it would be a significant improvement compared to the current program."
Price had agreed in August to introduce the bill once he found a co-sponsor. The bill dropped last week with 13 co-sponsors.
Other lawmakers that should be especially receptive to a bill for MPP: the 173 co-sponsors of H.R. 1041, the Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act, introduced in 2011 by Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.
"They are clearly supportive of the industry's position on this bidding program," said Bachenheimer.
Lawmakers plan to return from recess the week of Nov. 13 for a final lame duck session—essentially, the industry's first and last chance to get a bill for MPP passed, either as a standalone bill, or, more likely, as part of a larger bill.
"I think the industry is doing what it needs to do to position ourselves for action during the lame duck session," said Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility. "Things are moving right along."