A proactive web site created by NILA as a source of information about competitive bidding, a potentially devastating government experiment.

National Independent Laboratory Association (NILA) is a trade association for independent laboratories that provides a forum for the sharing of technical and business expertise.




Competitive Bidding History
- June 9, 2008-July 23, 2008

Clinical Laboratory Provisions In H.R. 6331 - July 23, 2008

Congress Overrides Bush's Veto Of H.R. 6331 - July 15, 2008

The U.S. Senate, by a vote of 70 to 26, has overridden President Bush’s veto of HR 6331. 

HR 6331 is now law, and Congressional authorization for the Part B Competitive Bidding Demonstration Project for clinical laboratory services has been REPEALED.

Senate Vote

House Overrides Bush's Veto Of H.R. 6331- July 15, 2008

The U.S. House of Representatives, by a vote of 383 to 41, has overridden President Bush’s veto of HR 6331.

The U.S. Senate is expected to begin debate on a veto override vote after 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time today, but it is uncertain when a vote will take place.

House Vote

President Vetoes H.R. 6331 - July 15, 2008

President Expected To Veto H.R. 6331
- July 10, 2008

At a press briefing this afternoon the White House said that President Bush intends to veto HR 6331.  We have been informed that a veto could occur as soon as the bill arrives at the White House, and that Congress would likely take up veto override votes early next week. 

Because the margin in favor of the bill in the House was over 80%, a vote to override a veto seems likely to pass in the House.  However, in the Senate there were only two more votes than needed to override the veto [69 voted in favor; 67 are needed to override a veto].  In addition, we do not know if Senator Kennedy will be able to attend a vote to override a veto.  If three or more Republican senators who voted in favor of HR 6331 switch their votes, the veto could be upheld and the bill would NOT pass. 

Therefore, it is very important that we urge the 18 Republican senators who voted for the bill yesterday to hold fast and vote to override the veto.  Here is a suggested email communication and a list of the 18 Republican senators (along with a link to each senator’s contact form on the senator’s website) who voted for HR 6331 yesterday. 

If you have facilities or employees in the states represented by these senators, encourage them to email their senators.

Senate Votes To Repeal Competitive Bidding - July 9, 2008

The Senate today, by a vote of 69 to 30, passed HR 6331, the House-passed bill that contains a provision to end CMS’s competitive bidding demonstration project for Part B clinical laboratory services.  In addition, HR 6331 contains a provision that reduces the annual CPI increase to the Part B clinical laboratory fee schedule by 0.5% each year for the next five years. 

The legislation now goes to President Bush, who can sign it into law or veto it.  If the President vetoes the bill, it will be sent back to the House and Senate for a veto “override” vote, which requires a 2/3 majority to pass.  HR 6331 passed the House by a vote of over 80%, so the House seems likely to override a Presidential veto.  Sixty-seven votes are needed to override a veto in the Senate, so a Senate override also seems likely.

Roll Call Vote

Third Cloture Vote Expected In Senate - July 7, 2008

The office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says that the Senate will hold another cloture vote on the House-passed bill (HR 6331) on Tuesday or Wednesday, July 8 or 9.

Over the July 4 holiday the AMA aired TV and radio ads in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Wyoming in an attempt to pressure Republican senators in those states to switch their votes on cloture.

Meanwhile, the Republican Senate leadership is urging that the Senate pass a 31-day extension of the pre-July 1 physician fee schedule to allow time for Congress to pass a compromise bill delaying physician payment reductions for 18 months.

NOTE:  Today we received confirmation from CMS that President Bush’s hold on Medicare payments for claims after July 1 does NOT apply to claims under the Part B clinical laboratory fee schedule.  However, it does apply to certain pathology fees that are paid under Medicare’s physician fee schedule.  If you hear differently from your carrier, please advise us as soon as possible.

Arlen Specter, Senator From Pennsylvania, Calls On President Bush To Reconvene Congress To Vote On Medicare Package - June 30, 2008

Bush Freezes Scheduled 10% Physician Fee Cut - June 30, 2008

According to the Associated Press the Bush administration said Monday it is freezing a scheduled 10 percent fee cut for doctors who treat Medicare patients, giving Congress time to act to prevent the cuts when lawmakers return from a July 4 recess.

Cloture Fails By One Vote In Senate - June 27, 2008

Senate Democrats came one vote shy last night of ending debate on a House-passed Medicare bill (HR 6331) that includes a repeal of competitive bidding for Medicare Part B clinical laboratory services.  60 votes were needed to invoke cloture.  The Democrats obtained 59 votes, with majority leader Harry Reid changing his YES vote to a NO vote in order to reserve the right to bring the cloture issue up again.

Both the House and Senate have recessed for the July 4 holiday, and the Democrats are vowing to bring this legislation up for another vote again after they return from the July 4 recess.   

Continue to contact your Members of Congress, especially senators who voted NO or didn’t vote, to urge them to vote in favor of this legislation.  Click for a list of each Senator’s vote on the cloture motion. 


Statement of HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt On Pending Medicare Physician Payment Legislation - June 27, 2008


June 26, 2008

Medicare Legislation Update

Senator Baucus (D-MT) has walked away from discussions on the bipartisan agreement he reached yesterday with Senator Grassley (R-IA) because of the overwhelming favorable vote margin in the House on HR 6331.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will attempt tomorrow to bring up the House-passed bill for a Senate vote, but the Republicans could delay the vote until at least Saturday.

Repeal of Part B competitive bidding is in HR 6331, so if the Senate passes the House bill, repeal of competitive bidding will be in the final package.  Then the question will be whether the House and Senate can override a promised Presidential veto. - June 25, 2008

Tentative Bipartisan Deal On Medicare Legislation Reached In Senate Finance Committee - June 24, 2008 

We have just learned that the Senate Finance Committee leaders have reached a tentative bipartisan deal on a Medicare package. 

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) says the Committee is awaiting CBO scores.   

We are now attempting to confirm that the repeal of competitive bidding for Part B clinical laboratory services is contained in the tentative Senate Medicare package. 

House Passes Medicare Package H.R. 6331 - June 24, 2008

This morning the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Medicare package, H.R. 6331, that includes repeal of competitive bidding for Part B clinical laboratory services and a 0.5% reduction in the CPI increase to the Medicare Part B fee schedule over the next five years.  The vote was 355 to 59.   

Following passage, the Bush Administration issued a veto threat.  Unlike Bush’s June 12 veto threat to Senate Bill 3101, introduced by Max Baucus (D-MT), this veto threat does not specifically mention the repeal of competitive bidding. 

Although the House package passed with a veto proof majority, S. 3101 garnered only 54 votes last week, not enough to end debate (cloture), or to override a veto.  Therefore, the spotlight now returns to the Senate to see if Senators Baucus and Grassley (R-IA) can craft a compromise bill in the Senate.

Cloture Vote on S. 3101 Fails In Senate - June 12, 2008

A vote to end debate on Senator Baucus' bill (S. 3101) containing a provision to repeal competitive bidding failed this afternoon by a vote of 54 in favor to 39 opposed.  Sixty votes are required to end debate (cloture).

As a result, the Senate's Democratic leadership will probably have to revise the bill to garner enough votes to end debate.

Senate Republicans Introduce Bill to Repeal Competitive Bidding and Reduce Annual CPI Update by 0.5% Over the Next 5 Years - June 11, 2008

Senate Democrats Introduce Bill (S. 3101) to Repeal Competitive Bidding and Reduce Annual CPI Update by 0.5% Over the Next 5 Years - June 9, 2008



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