Key Talking Points on Why to Suspend Diabetes Supply Bidding



The Hippocratic Principle should apply to Medicare – First Do No Harm.


Disrupting access to testing supplies had a negative effect on health outcomes.


Consider health outcomes including hospitalizations and mortality.
Another Round

Medicare is implementing a second round of bidding in the Summer of 2016. This will again disrupt access and risks a repeat of the test program. Congress should suspend the bidding of diabetes supplies until access, safety and quality will be assure.

Costs Up, More Hospitalization, & Increased Mortality

A study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Diabetes Care showed changes in access to diabetes testing supplies due to Medicare bidding program had a harmful impact on beneficiaries’ health outcomes. The study authors found that changes to access resulted in a decrease in self-testing of glucose and statistically significant increases in hospitalization, costs, and mortality. Disruptions to access resulted in higher hospitalizations and complications that cost Medicare more that the bidding program saved. More distressing the evidence shows higher mortality in the test markets.


The Big Picture: Medicare’s Bidding Program Failed

The Competitive Bidding program (CBP) was intended to help Medicare save money and ensure that beneficiaries had “access to quality medical equipment, supplies, and services from suppliers” benificiaries could  trust. Medicare reported they have had success spending less on diabetes testing supplies. However, the study in Diabetes Care shows that increases in hospitalization caused by Medicare’s disruption of access to supplies cost the agency more than it claims to have saved. The increase in mortality demonstrated Medicare did not ensure the quality of care.


The study in Diabetes Care looks at Medicare’s pilot program in nine cities. Based on their flawed analysis Medicare has subsequently rolled the program out nationally.

Otiginal Prescription Switched

The suppliers may not be as trustworthy as expected. Congress requires sulpiers to provide options. The American Association of Diabetes Educators investigated suppliers in Medicare program and found “beneficiaries participating in the Competitive Bidding Program are effectively being made to either switch to different testing systems.” The Asscociation findings were that suppliers failed to provide the scope of options required by Congress.

W as Not Designed to Find Problem

Medicare  did not see the program’s shortcomings because their analysis was not created to find them. The agency’s analysis did not track a group of patients over time. Rather they reported a lack of disruption based on complaints to Medicare from new program participants.



Media Resources

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinolgists letters to Congress
National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council Message to Acting Medicare Administrator
American Diabetes Association’s Official Statment
American Association of Diabetes Educators Press Release
American Association for Homecare Press Release
National Minority Quality Forum Press Release: Medicare’s Competitive Bidding Program Puts Beneficiaries’ Lives at Risk 

ACT NOW to Suspend Medicare’s Competitive Bidding Program