Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Health Care "Reform" is Already Here and is Already a Mess

The news keeps on coming. The WSJ is reporting on a fiasco involving home oxygen therapy. My medical advice is: don't get old. In Medicare Rule on Paying for Oxygen Vexes Patients, the Journal reports (click on insert for better image, and please think about it):

More than one million people rely on Medicare to pay for home-oxygen therapy. Now some patients are running into problems switching their suppliers because of complex new rules the federal insurer uses to pay for the services.
Under the new rules, which began to affect patients on Jan. 1, Medicare will pay suppliers at its prevailing rate for the first three years after a patient begins coverage. Suppliers are then required to continue providing oxygen services to patients for another two years, but at a sharply reduced payment rate. . .

Donna Miller of Lancaster, Ohio, uses an oxygen concentrator and a CPAP machine at night to help her breathe. The 71-year-old says she is planning to move into senior housing located in another town and that she contacted a nearby supplier that she heard provides good service. But because Medicare cut the payment for her oxygen when she reached the three-year cap this year, Ms. Miller says she is still trying to work out a transition plan with the new supplier. "I don't think it's fair that I have to go through all this red tape," she says.
Yours truly dealt with Medicare for many years. The only good thing about it is that the HMOs are worse.
If things are this bad now (and they are), just wait till the whole country is Medicare-ized AND costs are cut more in the name of efficiency and prevention.
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