Competitive Bidding 'Antithesis' of Obama's Executive Order
WASHINGTON — Could a presidential executive order be the key to revising, if not repealing, the DMEPOS competitive bidding program? The answer could depend on whether or not President Obama is keen on enforcing the order, according to a spokesman for the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness.
"We hope it is a mechanism that can be used. A lot depends on how interested the [Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] is in following the administration's new policy," said Bruce Levinson of the CRE, a watchdog organization that has challenged CMS on its implementation of competitive bidding, as well as its failure to divulge financial requirements for bidders. "And a second part is, how willing is the administration in enforcing the new policy?"
In his Jan.18 executive order and two accompanying memoranda, Obama called on government agencies to "strike the right balance" in regulatory oversight and not placing undue burdens on business.
"This order requires federal agencies [to] ensure that regulations protect our safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth," the president wrote in an opinion piece in the The Wall Street Journal. "And it orders a government-wide review of the rules already on the books to remove outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive …
"I am directing federal agencies to do more to account for — and reduce — the burdens regulations may place on small businesses," Obama added. "Small firms drive growth and create most new jobs in this country. We need to make sure nothing stands in their way."
According to the new strategy, regulations must be cost-justified and coordinated, transparent and science-driven. Federal agencies must also consider regulatory approaches that "maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public," including disclosure of information.
Levinson, whose career is built around scrutinizing government rules and regulations, said of competitive bidding he couldn't think of any other existing program that is the "absolute antithesis" of the president's call for flexibility and preserving freedom of choice, not to mention small businesses.