It's official


We've had a few calls at HME News this morning from providers who want to make sure they've read the news right. It's official. The House of Representatives and the Senate voted late yesterday to override the president's veto of a Medicare bill that would delay Round 1 of competitive bidding for 18 to 24 months and Round 2 until 2011. The votes:

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House: 383-41
Senate: 70-26

Click here for House and Senate

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roll calls.

The New York Times reported: "Although the Senate vote was close enough to provide some suspense, it was still over the two-thirds needed, as a number of conservative Republicans who typically side with the president broke with him on this issue."

Before the House and Senate voted to override the bill, Michael Leavitt, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, warned members of Congress. In an op-ed piece that appeared in The Washington Times, Leavitt wrote: "The bill aborts a major money-saving reform for consumers and taxpayers—by effectively killing a new program for the purchase of durable medical equipment (DME)."

Leavitt goes on: "What is at stake is whether our country lives under a system focused on one-size-fits-all coverage and price-fixing, or whether it embraces free-market incentives, competitive bidding, and consumer choice."

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The industry, and the majority of the members of Congress, beg to differ.

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