Legal Corruption

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how our government works.

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.


1 Comment

Filed under Politics

One response to “Legal Corruption

  1. A Round

    How is it that you show such a strong distrust of our government and yet you believe the propaganda Medicare and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt is putting out about all the money Durable Medical Equipment suppliers are making off of Medicare? When you are old and break your leg and are getting out of the hospital you can go to Wal-mart and buy your walker. Or if you have a heart attack and they are ready to release you from the hospital you can order an oxygen concentrator online and spend a few more days in the hospital waiting for delivery. What Mr. Leavitt and Medicare doesn’t mention is that Medicare regulations require that the DME company have in hand doctor’s prescriptions, proof that the patient really needs the equipment, and, in the case of the oxygen, an available respiratory therapist to instruct and monitor the patient in the use of the concentrator before they will pay the DME company for their services. And did Mr. Leavitt mention Medicare requires that the DME company have free delivery of the item and have on hand extra oxygen concentrators in case of a breakdown? Or did Medicare point out that the DME company must be available to make that replacement, should it be needed, on a 24/7 basis? When you get old, if you aren’t yet there, and need oxygen and your concentrator quits working you can call if you want and wait for delivery.
    Some areas have already gone through the bidding process and it is a mess. For example people in Pittsburg and Kansas City are being told they will have to wait 12 to 14 days for delivery of their walker from the bid-winning company for their area which for some reason known only to Medicare is in California.
    DME companies do not simply send Medicare a bill and say, “Here, pay this.” I believe Medicare has failed to mention that it sets the amounts they will pay and that with very few exceptions there have been decreases rather than increases in the last several years in spite of rising costs — specifically the increase in the cost of gasoline. Has medicare mentioned that most equipment provided by DME companies now comes from China because the cheapest equipment made in the USA costs more from the wholesale dealer than Medicare will pay the DME provider.
    Medicare issued hundreds of licenses (required before you can bill Medicare) to people who had only a post office box as a place of business and now are claiming that their bid system will get rid of illigitamate dealers.
    Medicare paid out tens of thousands of dollars in claims for artifical limbs to a small number of fraudulent providers all from the same area. Do you think you might have been suspicious when hundreds of people from Podunk City all lost an arm or a leg at the same time? Medicare paid the claims and now claims all DME providers are crooks.
    You say Medical equipment companies bribed Congress. You need to look into things and check your facts. You don’t know what you are talking (writing) about. Most sincerely,

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