Who’d a thunk it?

I mean, who would have thought that a massive government program would be paying over twice the average cost paid for by people in the private sector, on something as necessary as oxygen?

Only you, me and anyone who understands how markets work.

Millions of people with respiratory diseases have relied on oxygen equipment, delivered to their homes, to help them breathe. A basic setup, including three years of deliveries of small oxygen tanks, can be bought from pharmacies and other retailers for as little as $3,500, or about $100 a month.

Unless, that is, the buyer is Medicare, the government health care program for older Americans.

Despite enormous buying power, Medicare pays far more. Rather than buy oxygen equipment outright, Medicare rents it for 36 months before patients take ownership, and pays for a variety of services that critics say are often unnecessary.

The total cost to taxpayers and patients is as much as $8,280, or more than double what somebody might spend at a drugstore.

The high expense of oxygen equipment — which cost Medicare over $1.8 billion last year — is hardly an anomaly.

The article goes on to tell us just how the suppliers of medical equipment keep these costs where they are,

“These industries rely on a basic threat: If you mess with us, we can turn the seniors against you,” said former Senator Alan K. Simpson, Republican of Wyoming, who tried cutting Medicare payments while he was in Congress. “Angering seniors is the quickest route to political suicide.”

Many of those battles focus on the $427 billion Medicare program. Because of fierce patient and corporate lobbying, for instance, Medicare still pays prices for many items that are based on rates established in the early 1980s, when devices were often much more expensive than they are now.

And even with all of the overspending and possibility for “political suicide”, the entirety of the Democrat Party is onboard with extending this fiasco to every person in America (and notice I didn’t just specify “citizens”).

Because they care.

About what, I haven’t quite nailed down yet.

Found at the SayAnything blog.

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1 Response to Who’d a thunk it?

  1. This NY Times article doesn’t even make sense. You can’t get oxygen therapy on the Internet. Medicare pays $7.63 per day for oxygen therapy (equipment, service, set up, back up supply, 24-7 on call service, etc.) provided in the homes of Medicare beneficiaries, typically COPD patients in their 70s. This therapy reduces trips to the ER and hospitalizations for COPD exacerbations. Typical cost of Medicare covered day in a hospital: $4,600. Congress has cut reimbursement nearly in half over the past 10 years and has passed laws to cut another 20 percent over the next two years, which will may make it impossible to receive oxygen therapy in some parts of the country, particularly rural areas. It makes you wonder what the real agenda for this NYT article is. This is a deeply biased, flawed article about a cost-effective benefit in Medicare that represents less than one half of one percent of total Medicare spending. See http://www.aahomecare.org for the truth about this topic.

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