This week Congress will demonstrate if it is serious or not about reining in entitlement spending. Right now the government is paying insane rental prices for medical equipment – prices far higher than it would cost to purchase the equipment outright.
An oxygen concentrator, for example, is a device that delivers oxygen through a tube to patients, and it costs about $600 on the open market. Medicare beneficiaries typically rent the machines. The rental period, set by statute, is up to 36 months. The monthly rental payment, also set by statute, is $198.40. So renting an oxygen concentrator for 36 months costs $7,142.
.... If Congress fails to uphold even this modest effort at entitlement reform, there is little reason to believe its members will muster the political courage for the unspeakably harder choices that await them.