CMS is wrongly favoring traditional sales vs. online

The July 9 article “CMS to face legal threat if Congress cancels host of equipment contracts,” which discusses the battles over federal contracting of medical equipment, failed to mention a fundamental problem in both the underlying contracting reforms being suspended and the $3.1 billion “pay-for” for that suspension. While cost-cutting is generally a good thing, it must be applied fairly. Here the government is playing favorites, and penalizing new channels of commerce.

The article states, “In exchange for agreeing to take up their cause, [Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif.] extracted a heavy price from the medical equipment industry. In order to cover the $3.1 billion, five-year cost, the industry accepted a 9.5 percent cut of their current fees in … 10 geographical areas.”

This mixes apples and oranges. There are two distinct distribution modes within the medical equipment industry (as well as in most business activities); one is retail outlets, and the other is mail-order, or online, commerce. In seeking cost-cutting measures, an unprecedented bias has been established against mail-order suppliers of medical equipment, which has tilted the market back to “brick and mortar” retailers and has generated concerns at UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, and others committed to the new multiple channels of commerce.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services took the liberty of applying the cost-saving reform of competitive bidding only to mail-order suppliers, and exempted retail suppliers. While there is value in suspending that asymmetrically applied reform, the legislation regrettably applies the “pay-for” (the 9.5 percent reimbursement cut) only to mail-order suppliers, and perpetuates one of the fundamental problems of the system it is trying to correct.

Newspapers and most every other form of communication and commerce, including those of us in the package delivery industry, are wrestling with the evolving changes that the Internet has caused. A groundbreaking bias instituted by government that picks a favorite is noteworthy and needs a hard and long look.

Washington

Dems join Bush in crushing Constitution

From M.L. Pinkard

(Regarding July 9 article “Senate passes FISA overhaul” and other coverage in The Hill.) Rather than overhauling the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — with bulk warrantless spying against citizens, contrary to the Fourth Amendment, and retroactive immunity for criminal government-functionaries and their globalist-commerce cohorts — Congress joined the well-despised President Bush attempting to crush the Constitution.

Cheered on by Bush Republicans, this [action] featured self-sainted Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), plus 20 other Senate Democrats; and Northern California Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Ellen Tauscher and Jerry McNerney, along with another 102 Democratic House colleagues.

Set to pass H.Con.Res.362 and S.Res.580 over imaginary Iranian “pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Congress — in stealth compact with Bush razing the highest international laws — intends to institute a virtual war resolution.

“It is the declaration of tremendous sanctions and boycotts and embargoes on the Iranians,” as Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said in his June 26 speech to the House.

By acquiescing to corrupt, supposedly-elected officials blatantly squandering citizens’ resources, culture, and lives on the care and feeding of one-world elitists, their globalist-business bed-partners, and attendant huge foreign populations, Americans guarantee ongoing government-induced crises, ensure millions of deaths and obviate their own self-determination and sovereignty.

Lafayette, Calif.