South Carolina Congressional Delegation Asks Feds to Ensure Access to Health Care Supplies for SC Seniors

Washington – Senator Tim Scott and members of the South Carolina congressional delegation today asked the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure South Carolina seniors continue to have access to critical health care supplies. Currently, CMS oversees a bidding program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and other supplies, which is intended to reduce Medicare expenses. However, the program designed by CMS falls short in a number of ways, and the delegation has requested a delay to the program in order to reform the process to better reflect its original intent. If left unchecked, the current bidding program could make it significantly harder for seniors to easily and affordably obtain necessary medical equipment.
In the letter, the delegation wrote: “In the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, Congress designed the Competitive Bidding program with the intent of reducing Medicare and beneficiary expenditures through competition while ensuring that beneficiaries continue to have access to quality items. However, the CMS-designed program in its current form is neither competitive nor does it protect beneficiary access to high quality medical supplies. In fact, many patients will likely have to find a new supplier, often in another state. Additionally, there are numerous flaws in the Competitive Bidding program that prevent it from ensuring quality and access for Medicare beneficiaries.”
The letter continued, “We are also concerned that general access to local providers will soon be a thing of the past. More than 25 contracts have been won by companies that are 2000 miles away from the bid area for which they were awarded. One company in particular won bids to provide oxygen in all of the South Carolina competitive bid areas, but this company is located in California. Bids on more than 200 contracts have been awarded to companies in states that do not even share a border with South Carolina. Instead of continuing to have access to their local providers, Medicare beneficiaries will have to work with companies that are located an average of 200 miles away from the market that they will be serving after July 1.”
Senator Tim Scott, Senator Lindsey Graham, Representative Joe Wilson, Representative Jeff Duncan, Representative Trey Gowdy, Representative Mick Mulvaney, and Representative Tom Rice all signed the letter.
The full text of the letter is attached below.