Barton hails Medicare competitive bidding program

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) on Friday cheered the news that Medicare rates for some durable medical equipment (DME) products will be slashed by a third next year. 

Barton, the senior Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, had helped to author the competitive bidding program that generated the savings. Medicare on Thursday announced DME rates in nine major cities will be cut by an average of 32 percent beginning in 2011.

"I never thought anyone could justify the system where the government automatically paid a premium by skirting competitive bidding, and I’m glad to see the first signs that its coming to an end," Barton said in a statement. "I fought to include competitive bidding in the Medicare Modernization Act because it cuts the cost of medical equipment not just for taxpayers, but for the seniors on Medicare, too.  

"Government works best when we listen to everybody, so I’m happy CMS was open to all sides and even happier that the outcome means that taxpayers and seniors are going to get a cost break they deserve."

A number of Barton's colleagues disagree. A House bill to repeal the competitive bidding program has attracted more than 250 sponsors.