The proposal: Open federal supply schedules to state and local governments, including county hospitals, Indian housing agencies, school districts and townships. Created by the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994, the proposed program is called federal cooperative purchasing.
The purpose: Eliminate redundant contracting efforts at different levels of government. Additionally, possibly save public money and build federal purchasing power.
The protest: Private-sector hospitals potentially could pay billions of dollars more for products as manufacturers raise prices to offset the expanded federal customer base. Federal prices could increase for the same reason.