Oxygen: '$3 billion for air, because that's all it really is'

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08/28/2009

[caption id="attachment_1482" align="alignleft" width="180" caption="Bruce Vladeck"]Bruce Vladeck[/caption]

That's what this guy had to say about the money Medicare spends on home oxygen therapy. Vladeck, the former administrator of the Medicare and Medicaid programs during the Clinton administration, made the comment during a segment on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal."

Truant Officer Donald film Judgment Night divx Vladeck also commented that every administration since the 1980s has tried "to change the system to eliminate those ridiculous overpayments," but Congress always stands in the way.

Who knew Washington Journal would air such sensationalism? It's not exactly Fox News.

AAHomecare, in a blog

yesterday, was quick to point out that oxygen is more than a product.

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Medicare pays for medical oxygen and oxygen devices, both of which require prescriptions, as well as certain accompanying services which Mr. Vladeck chooses to ignore completely.

It also pointed out that DME payments, including those for oxygen, have been cut numerous times since Vladeck left his post:

Milk download It was cut in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, and in the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA). Moreover, Congress has approved competitive bidding for DME in two separate pieces of legislation that were signed into law – MMA in 2003 and MIPPA in 2008. This legislation, in combination, has resulted in reductions in oxygen therapy payments of over 50% since the end of the 1990s when Mr. Vladeck left public office.

Other wise words from Vladeck, who is the interim president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and a principal with Ernst and Young’s Health Sciences Advisory Services:

Every effort for the last 20 some years to reduce Medicare payments for oxygen has run into a large lobbying campaign from the supplier industry generally organized to frighten beneficiaries to say, you know, if you let this go ahead, Congress is literally going to cut off your air supply. And Congress has stepped in to prevent reductions in oxygen payments every single time.”

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Click here

Another Stakeout psp

to watch the entire segment. If you have the stomach...

UPDATE: AAHomecare was able to provide an extensive rebuttal on this morning's "Washington Journal." The association had sent several e-mails to C-SPAN to correct Vladeck and request an opportunity to rebut his statements.

Click here to hear AAHomecare's comments and Vladeck's response. They're about an hour and 48 minutes into the program (Notice Vladeck snicker when the program's host mentions AAHomecare).

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