WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), both members of the Senate Finance Committee, have introduced legislation to protect seniors and those who rely on durable medical equipment, prosthetic and orthotic devices, and supplies from predatory business practices. The Portman-Cardin Medicare Competitive Bidding Improvement Act (MCBIA) would ensure a fair competitive bidding program by disallowing intentional low-ball bidding for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) contracts.
“Good governance and good business practices are both founded on transparency. Our bill would increase transparency in CMS bidding to help those reliant on affordable medical supplies as well as the small business that supply them,” said Senator Cardin. “I thank Senator Portman for joining me in moving forward this commonsense, bipartisan legislation to help better serve the American people.”
“It’s important that we’re taking steps to ensure seniors have access to the medical supplies they rely on,” Senator Portman stated. “This legislation will increase transparency and fairness in the bidding process, promote competition and ensure seniors have increased access to quality medical supplies.”
Currently, supplier bids are non-binding, meaning if CMS offers a contract to a bidder, that bidder can accept or reject that contract. Non-binding bids can encourage low-ball bids because suppliers know they are not required to supply the products at those bid levels and are only bidding to participate in the program. The Medicare Competitive Bidding Improvement Act would make supplier bids binding, thereby increasing transparency and ensuring reliable and equitable pricing. This legislation would help ensure that suppliers submit bids in good faith, increase competition, and would create more certainty for suppliers and for consumers, giving them increased access to more quality products and services.
The text of the bill can be downloaded here.