This, ladies and gentlemen, is how our government works.
- Medicare is getting fleeced by medical equipment companies what are charging the government way more than the market rate for equipment.
Medicare currently buys medical devices — things like walkers — using a “price list” system under which a walker you can get from Wal-Mart for $60 costs the government (and the beneficiaries, though their co-payments) $110. Under a new system of competitive bidding being rolled out by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services of DHHS, the government would save about $1B per year, and the patients another $200M.
- Medicare decides to crack down and require competitive bidding for some common medical supplies, which will cut into the medical equipment companies profits.
- Medical equipment companies increase donations to Congress.
- House passes law to end competitive bidding.
Somehow, despite that damning set of facts, the New York Times is still interested in rationalizing Congress’ behavior:
The industry has been able to win over some Congress members by warning of job losses. Other members are naturally — and, in some cases, rightly — skeptical of the workings of the free market.
But this is a case in which the market can clearly do a better job than a government-mandated fee schedule. Just look at Wal-Mart’s Web site or, for that matter, the bids that Medicare has already received.
By standing in the way of this competition, Congress is really standing up for higher health care costs.
No. Congress is corrupt. This has nothing to do with job loses, skepticism of the market or any other public policy concern. Medical equipment manufacturers bribed Congress, legally. Congress is corrupt. They took the bribe and lined the pockets of their contributors with taxpayer dollars.