Thursday, August 29, 2013

Which is Better?

Have you seen the Verizon commercials where an adult, sitting in a small chair at a small table with four 8 year olds, poses “which is better” questions?  Well, in the same vein as those commercials, answer these questions:
  • Which is better.., one home delivery for three different medical products, or home deliveries for one product at three different times?
  • Which is better.., an oxygen supplier 10 miles from your Mom, or an oxygen supplier 100 miles from your Mom?
  • Who is smarter in economics.., CMS Administrator Jonathan Blum, or the economics departments of Harvard, Yale and Princeton?  (and UCLA, Cornell, Penn State, MIT, Stanford, Notre Dame, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Maryland & 40 more!)
  • Which is better.., saving $20 billion in Medicare spending or saving $80 billion in Medicare spending?
  • Which is better.., going home with a hospital bed from the local supplier or spending two extra nights in the hospital waiting for a delivery from a company hundreds of miles away?
We all know the answers to these questions and we see the problems resulting from the answers, but CMS doesn’t.  Mr. Blum knows better, he’s said so publicly.  In fact everyone knows which is better―except for CMS.  This is a Washington bureaucrat giving us assurance that Washington knows best.

Mr. Blum points to “sky-high prices” in a recent response to criticism of the flawed program, but failed to mention that these prices were set by CMS, not the industry, and using a formula approved by Congress.  CMS had the ability to adjust these prices without destroying the supplier community.

The real answer is “how can so much government focus be spent on squeezing pennies out of program that is less than 1.4% of the total Medicare budget when there is $60 billion lost annually to fraud, waste, and abuse in the rest of the Medicare program?  Mr. Blum also fails to note that the $25.8 billion savings he predicts is over a period of 10 years, AND the $2.6 billion per year saving is less than 0.4% (yes, you’re reading that right: 4/10 of one percent) of the CMS acknowledged fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare.  Talk about killing an ant with a sledge hammer.

What a shame that CMS and Congress both miss the point.......DME saves money.  Keeping people at home saves money.  We’re pretty sure that even the eight year olds in the commercials can grasp that.

If YOU get the point, please call Congress and tell them YOU know better than Mr. Blum. If you have access problems or have patients with access problems, call 800-404-8702 and report it on the beneficiary hotline.  If you are disappointed with Congressional inaction over the bidding program, call 202-224-3121 and tell you legislator to delay Round 2 and replace it with a real market pricing program instead of the debacle being peddled by CMS.

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