Price, McMorris Rodgers lead bipartisan legislation to prevent reimbursement rate cuts for durable medical equipment

U.S. Reps. Tom Price (R-GA) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) led a bipartisan coalition on Thursday that introduced legislation to protect patient access to durable medical equipment (DME).

The Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment (PADME) Act, H.R. 5210, was introduced to prevent cuts to Medicare DME reimbursement rates that are slated to take effect in July. The cuts could limit the availability of DME for Medicare beneficiaries across the country.

“Georgia’s seniors ought to have access to quality health care,” Price, a medical doctor and the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said. “Every single day, many rely on durable medical equipment such as wheel chairs, oxygen tanks, and canes to maintain their health and wellbeing. This bipartisan effort seeks to allow providers of this equipment the ability to continue to supply lifesaving medical supplies to patients regardless of where they live.”

The Competitive Bidding Program (CBP) was established under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 to use competitive bidding to reduce Medicare and beneficiary costs for DME. CBP, however, has not held bidders accountable or ensured that bidders are qualified to provide DME.

“Seniors of all backgrounds rely on durable medical equipment to go about their daily lives – whether it’s to simply walk around without falling or to breathe normally when their lungs can no longer do it on their own,” McMorris Rodgers said. “But this equipment cannot save lives if it isn’t made available to those who need it most, especially in rural areas where barriers to access care may already exist. I am grateful for Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) as well as Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA) for their collaboration in introducing this important legislation, and working to ensure that seniors in Eastern Washington and across the country have access to quality medical equipment.”

The PADME Act would extend current reimbursement rates for DME to give Congress additional time to monitor its effects, especially in rural areas.

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