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False economies

Starting November 15, Medicare's reimbursement for power wheelchairs will be far less than it is today -- reductions of 35 to 40 percent will kick in. Despite organizing and pressure over the past year, the agency has continued on its bullheaded mission, insisting it's reducing "fraud."

The decision, says Mark Smith over at Wheelchair Junkie, is allegedly about saving costs. But it's "a strikingly poor socioeconomic decision":

The most fundamental purpose of a power wheelchair is that it preserves health and fosters independence - and the maintaining of one's mobility adds up to tremendous governmental cost savings. Studies show that over the past eight years, among Medicare recipients, power wheelchairs saved the government $10-billion in healthcare costs, showing that, on average, a power wheelchair user required $14,000 less annual healthcare than beneficiaries of comparable demographics and conditions who went without powered mobility. These statistics stem from the fact that power wheelchairs facilitate independent living by reducing physical injuries and foster enhanced mobility required for daily living, decreasing needed support services . . .

Read Smith's entry, When Less Costs More.

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