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Congress Overrides President Bush’s Veto of Medicare Bill

Posted Jul 21 2008 10:15am

The Medicare Bill known as H.R. 6331 now becomes law thanks to a Congressional override of President Bush’s veto earlier today. While this bill does not do anything to fix the health care crisis, it does plenty to protect small business, physician access and protects the vital interests of Medicare beneficiaries.

Don’t be fooled, though, H.R. 6331 is simply a patch which gets us to next year. The major plus sides to the bill are a delay to the seriously flawed competitive bidding program, the repeal of title transfer on oxygen equipment, a 9.5% savings to Medicare on home medical equipment and stopping a 10% reduction in physician payments, which would have cut-off many Medicare beneficiaries from access to care. There is a very good article atMedical News Todaywhich explains some differences in between simply supplying an item and serving a patients needs. The article fails to mention the added expense of billing any insurance over receiving cash for an item.

Many of the Internet companies the Government looks to for price comparison also bill Medicare. They bill Medicare at the Medicare Allowable. This pricing structure is illegal, it is Medicare fraud, period. You shouldn’t be able to have your cake and eat it too. Most home care companies follow guidelines regarding discounts for cash sales. Hence, they are penalized for following Government rules. The Internet companies who bill Medicare substantially higher than their cash price are not following the law and are reaping great rewards as a result.

We all want better pricing along with a healthy, sustainable health care system. Unfortunately, we as Americans have been spoiled with insurance coverage which drives up the cost of everything covered. Think about it people! If you pay for a medical procedure or devise, price would be known and you would shop around for the best price that comes with good service. When insurance pays, their administrative costs plus their large profit is added on, in addition to the providers additional administrative cost due to billing personnel, time, possible denial of payment and paperwork.

The current system is full of excess to say the least. The simple solution to rising health care costs is to reduce the things insurance covers. If your health insurance dropped $300 per month, you could afford to pay your physician office visit, couldn’t you? I’ll follow up on this line of thinking in future posts.

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