As people impacted by diabetes living in the United States, we know that any disruption in accessing our supplies can be catastrophic. Many individuals fight to get the supplies, medications, and services they need to stay healthy with diabetes.

We need to tell Congress that we need answers about the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program before we go to the voting booths.

 

The current situation for individuals on Medicare is this: if you have diabetes, your blood glucose testing supplies are part of CMS’s Competitive Bidding Program. The program requires mail order suppliers to bid to CMS to get contracts.

Contracts that are given aren’t based on quality; they’re based on price. In fact, a supplier can bid ridiculously low and after winning the bid, decide not to sign the contract. But that bid becomes part of the pricing scheme, pushing the reimbursement cost for blood glucose testing supplies lower.

If you are on Medicare and want to use one particular brand of test strips, you may find that the suppliers no longer carry them and offer you a substitution (that isn’t accurate). Or that the mail order company you have used no longer has a contract. Good luck finding a new one on your own. This program restricts access to testing supplies by making it difficult for Medicare beneficiaries to get the supplies they need.

Studies have shown that the Competitive Bidding Program currently pushed by CMS is flawed. It’s not saving anyone money. It’s costing taxpayers money though increased hospital stays and it’s costing patients their lives. 

This spring, the diabetes community and concerned constituents sent letters to Congress, asking them for an oversight hearing on the Competitive Bidding Program for diabetes supplies for Medicare Beneficiaries.

Congress has done little (if nothing) to demand accountability and data from CMS.

In June, Senator Orrin Hatch sent a letter to CMS requesting that the agency “share the specific indicators the agency is monitoring to determine if beneficiaries experience access problems or adverse outcomes and to report the results publicly on the agency’s website.” To date, this request has been ignored, and CMS continues to claim that competitive bidding is causing no harm or disruption and that there have been significant cost savings. CMS ignores the dramatic rise in costs associated with increased hospitalizations and emergency care.

We are asking you to contact your Senators and Representatives and tell them to step up before the election and demand the data showing if CMS is even monitoring this dangerous and deadly program. Click here and send a letter to your Congressional representative today.

 

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