Thursday, September 30, 2010

Update on that Medicare Auction

Peter Cramton writes to update us on the progress of the letter he organized about A poorly designed Medicare auction .

"I want to thank you again for being a signatory on the letter to Chairman Stark expressing our concerns with the flawed Medicare Competitive Bidding Program. I sent the letter linked below to Chairman Stark late on Sunday night. He responded within two days with a letter to the head of Medicare concluding, “I urge you to give these comments and recommendations serious consideration. I would also request that you inform me in a timely way as to whether CMS plans to incorporate any of the recommended changes and if not, why not.”  The full letter is linked below.

"Letter from 167 Concerned Auction Experts on Medicare Competitive Bidding Program" to Chairman Stark, Health Subcommittee, Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives, 26 September 2010. [Letter from Chairman Stark to CMS] 

Yesterday, the deputy head of CMS, who is in charge of the competitive bidding program, contacted me to request a meeting  to discuss the issues. We have not met yet, but I am optimistic that something good will come from this. Please be patient. Washington has now effectively shut down until after the elections. This will be a slow burner, but thanks to all of you the chance of a sensible outcome is positive. One could not say that a week ago.

A thousand thanks!


PS You may find the [Excerpts from replies] of interest. The excerpts are anonymous. Finally, here is a Freakonomics Blog with Ian Ayres that appeared today in the Opinion Pages of the New York Times.

Professor Peter Cramton
Economics, Tydings Hall
University of Maryland
College Park MD 20742-7211

Update: Peter and Brett E. Katzman have a followup column in The Economists' Voice (Oct. 2010): Reducing Healthcare Costs Requires Good Market Design

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