Who wants to cut the power wheelchair benefit out of Medicare?


[caption id="attachment_262" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="Claire McCaskill"]Claire McCaskill[/caption]

Forget about cutting reimbursement for power mobility devices. If Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., had her way, she’d cut the entire benefit out of Medicare. That’s what she said during Fox News Sunday.

Well, I don’t know how many ads you’ve seen for scooters on cable TV, but I’ve seen a lot of them,” she said. “Those are scooters paid for by the American people, and a lot of them are going to people who don’t need them. It’s one example of many examples where we’re paying for services instead of outcomes.”

Host Chris Wallace then brought on Fox News medical correspondent Dr. Mark Siegel, who called McCaskill’s idea “absolutely outrageous.”

Siegel, a practicing internist and an associate professor at New York University School of Medicine, pointed out that 69% of those who use power wheelchairs aren’t elderly people (who, in McCaskill’s mind, may or may not need them) but disabled people.

My mother-in-law has multiple sclerosis,” he said. “She’s confined to a wheelchair; she’s paralyzed. My father-in-law has diabetes. He can’t walk; he can’t push her around. Her only life is that motorized wheelchair, and Medicare should pay for it.”

Liz Beaulieu