Award for the Worst Legislative Proposal that Actually Has a Chance of Becoming Law

Entry No. 1: Studies show that doctor-owned hospitals are typically more efficient and deliver higher-quality care than traditional hospitals. Further, they give doctors financial incentives to hold down costs and create opportunities to specialize in the delivery of hospital care. So what does Congress propose to do?  Close them down, of course. See New York Times story [here].

Entry No. 2: Ordinarily, Medicare pays for such items as wheelchairs, scooters, oxygen supplies, etc. by relying on a fee schedule determined by the bureaucracy rather than in the marketplace. Yet in a demo project that used competitive bidding by suppliers, Medicare's costs were lowered by 26%. So what does Congress propose to do? End the demonstration and go back to administered prices, of course. [See CMS Fact Sheet.]

Comments (2)

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  1. Devon Herrick says:

    With Tuesday’s House vote, Congress is moving closer to shelving a Medicare program requiring a competitive bidding system for durable medical equipment purchases that has already lowered costs by 26 percent. (article) Even a New York Times editorial has condemned this exercise in special interest lobbying.

    The current system of reimbursing durable medical equipment suppliers through a fee schedule has long been prone to fraud and abuse by some equipment suppliers. Requiring competitive bidding would not only lower the price Medicare pays for equipment, it would also put many fly-by-night operators out of business.

    A report by Heritage Foundation scholar Bob Moffit offers more details on the cost implications of a delayed or defeated bidding program.

  2. Richard Walker says:

    For those of us who hold to the faint hope that Medicare will still be viable in our retirement, implementing a competitive bidding program for Medicare supplies seems an obvious move to trim unnecessary costs. I agree with the USA TODAY editorial that a Congressional delay likely equals doom for the 10-city bidding program launch next week.