Thursday, August 29, 2013
Dialysis Centers Lobby for Federal Giveaway
Today’s Managing Health Care Costs Indicator is
The lobbyists at Fresenius and DaVita can’t be happy with the headlines on the front page of today’s New York Times. They are advocating for the repeal of a law which will stop Medicare from overpaying for dialysis sessions. Session fees began to incorporate the costs of erythropoietin and other anti-anemia drugs in 2011- after it was clear that these drugs were massively overused . The fee for each session was calculated based on then-current use of these blood forming agents. The dialysis centers finally started decreasing the use of these medications, triggering Congress to appropriately recalibrate payments. Fresenius and DaVita (and other dialysis providers, including nonprofits) want to reverse this.
Amgen’s 74 Washington lobbyists got an extra half billion from the public trough earlier this year for a dialysis drug that was supposed to be bundled into the dialysis session charge.
Anyone wanting to see how we get far too little value from dialysis in the US should read/reread the ProPublica article on dialysis (2010). The US has among the worst dialysis results in the developed world. If we were going to spend an extra half billion – let’s put it into incentives to improve the quality of care – not giveaways to politically well-connected pharmaceutical companies!