important news about scooters

Government Just Now Realizes It Is Wasting Millions On Motorized Scooters

Probably you thought the “prolonged joblessness” or the “taxes” or the “food shortages” or the “sale at the Wal-Mart” were going to finally be the flame to America’s revolutionary lighter fluid, but WRONG. Medicare officials are promising to root out fraud coming from America’s scooter cartels.  Who says anarchy doesn’t begin now?

Records from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show the cost of motorized wheelchairs to the government health service for senior citizens has risen from $259 million to $723 million, or 179%, from 1999 to 2009, the last year for which full records are available.

Advertisements for the wheelchairs, also called scooters, have exploded nationwide in recent years, as companies tout the improved mobility they provide and how Medicare, not the patients, will pay for the chairs.

A report released last week by Medicare’s inspector general also showed that 61% of the motorized wheelchairs provided to Medicare recipients in the first half of 2007 went to people who didn’t qualify for them. The inspector general found that Medicare is billed an average of $4,018 for a motorized wheelchair that normally sells for $1,048.

Also, did you know the government spent $723 million on personal mobility scooters in 2009? [USAToday; h/t “JohnnyZhivago”]

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  1. Come here a minute

    If the gubmint tries to take away the free Medicare scooters, the Tea Party will come speeding into action, at five miles-per-hour.

  2. Barb

    If they take the scooters away will it prevent them from going to Tea Party rallies? I doubt they would be so motivated if they had to walk on their swollen cankles and not have anywhere to hang their patriotic American flag bunting.

    Next, they should make them switch to cloth diapers instead of those super convenient Depends undergarments.

  3. Atlas Frooged

    Whoa, whoa, thems ain't entitlements! Nobama's jest trying to get back for ending his spending spree (because, he spent all that pork hisself). They can have my scooter when they pry my fused ham hocks off the seat!

  4. slithytoves

    I was in Lincoln, NH last week coming back from a trip to Maine and saw two scooters parked close to the door at MacDonalds. QED bonanza!

    1. widestanceroman

      So in other words, these devolved beings CAN walk for food if the drive-through is too crowded?

    2. mayor_quimby

      I know what you mean, I saw 2 parked at Churchs's chicken in ATL this week, and another pulling up.
      How about we buy them gm pod cars instead, better for jerbs!

  5. BaldarTFlagass

    "Medicare is billed an average of $4,018 for a motorized wheelchair that normally sells for $1,048."

    Hey, it was just a typo. Margie down in billing is dyslexic, is all.

  6. edgydrifter

    Freedom ain't free, but this here Rascal was. That's the magic of the free market right there.

    1. PristinePantalones

      Is it wrong to hope that the Invisible Hand of Teh Free Market strangles the fookin' lot of them?

  7. DaRooster

    Shit… for $4,018 you could get a helluva ATV… and run over some scooters while shooting your guns in the air!

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      Let's see, $4018? That happens to be $518 more than I ever spent on a car for my own personal use. My wife has had one in the low five figures, but there never seems to be any money when it's time replace my jalopy.

    2. poncho_pilot

      you might have enough left over to buy two AK-47 variations and a steering column mount.

      1. PristinePantalones

        Remember when they went to DC to protest and whined endlessly about the poor quality of DC's public transportation?

        1. baconzgood

          I go to DC about every 4 or 5 weeks. I find the Metro a great light rail system. Maybe the teatards were confused about getting a ticket first then where to put it in the turnstile. Not to mention that buisness with the convoluted maps. I mean Blue, Red, Yellow WHICH ONE TO TAKE?!?!?!!?

          1. Sparky_McGruff

            You have to cut them some slack… The teatards remember when there were two lines: Whites only and Colored.

        2. SorosBot

          I thought the whining was mainly about how they had to sit in the same section as black people.

          1. gullywompr

            It was mainly that they would get off at a stop in the wrong part of town – a section with black people.

          2. PristinePantalones

            I believe the organizers even published a little handbook of "How To Ask Directions in Jive." Or maybe it was titled "Different-Coloured People To Avoid." But essentially, yeah. Scary black people ride the pubtrans.

          3. baconzgood

            Please tell me how to get to the hotel


            Yo nigga, no needs to be grittin' on a brother. I'z just astin' how to git to da crib s'all.


      2. baconzgood

        Didn't a Republican Talking Head (Rush, Glenn, Sean, etc.) once say that Public transit was socialist? If not I'm sure they will get around to it soon enough.

  8. BaldarTFlagass

    These are NOT the frauds that you are looking for. Try again, but mix in more brown people this time.

    1. MissTaken

      "Scammers also exploit immigrant communities. In California, as English-as-a-second-language Medicare recipients line up for other services, a person will approach them in line and "They'll say, 'The government would really like for you to have a wheelchair,'" said Julie Schoen, director of special projects for California's Senior Medicare Patrol. Then, she said, the scammer will take the Medicare recipient to a "clinic" for an exam."

      They've already gone after the brownz on this, too.

      1. DashboardBuddha

        I remember seeing a report on 60 Minutes (?) about this chiropractor who would go around the brownz neighborhood in a van. He would pick the kids up, give them a lollypop and a balloon and then charge medicaid assloads of money for a spinal alignment.

      2. BaldarTFlagass

        The Scooter Store has a local outlet over in New Braunfels where a couple of my desperate-for-work friends have taken jobs on the sales staff. Neither of them lasted more than a couple months, the tactics they are trained in and expected to use made them want to take a Silkwood Shower after work every night. At least I chose friends with ethics, and the weird thing is that one of them was even a Republican.

    2. PristinePantalones

      Gee, I wonder if these fall under the definition of "cuts to Medicare service providers that the President promised.

      1. BerkeleyBear

        Probably. This (and Medicare Advantage, the catheter folks, diabetes testing supplies, etc.) are well known boondoggles. Knowing about it and actually doing something, though, are two very different things.

  9. Monsieur_Grumpe

    I can see it now. In the future history books will write of the Great Tea Party Scooter Revolt.

    “The sheer weight of the thousands of Rascals and their occupants brought down the elitists government officials like a giant flabby flesh colored steam roller running over a box of fresh Crispy Cremes.”

  10. metamarcisf

    Hi. I'm Fred Thompson for The Scooter Store. If for any reason you are denied coverage, we will pay for the scooter ourselves, with no cost to you.

  11. BaldarTFlagass

    I hope that when I become eligible for Medicare that I can convert my old Chevy from a 4-speed to an automatic, and have the guy at the restoration shop bill the work to the government.

  12. SheriffRoscoe

    But if you deny us our free motorized scooters, how will we be expected to navigate the Wal-Mart Superstore to stock up on balogna, white bread and baconnaise? We'll be forced to move our bodies in defiance of gravity.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      "Dear Walmart Store Manager:
      Can you please move the Little Debbies down to a lower shelf? Gravity done got the best of me.
      Loyal Customer"

  13. freakishlywrong

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and state that "scooter cartels" may be one of the funniest Wonkscriptions yet.

  14. Redhead

    Well you can't expect the teabaggers to just waddle around. I suppose you could roll them, like the kid in Willy Wonka that ate the forbidden candy and blew up and the Boehner-midgets had to wheel her out…

  15. Lascauxcaveman

    Please tell me these scooters are at least made in the USA. Then we can look at the Medicare Fraud subsidy as a sort of Detroit Bailout writ small.

    1. BarackMyWorld

      That seems to imply that government spending goes back into the economy and creates jobs…I'm so confused.

  16. widestanceroman

    To be fair, it was the sidebody flame art option that drove up the price, although there is a discount on wolf art if you combine it with flames.

  17. elviouslyqueer

    True story: a couple weeks ago I was coming out of our local Wal-Mart (because, HELLO, Mississippi) when I saw a rather robust older lady climb out of her pickup truck and plop herself down on a nearby scooter. She managed to putt-putt her way through the parking lot and up to the door before said scooter's battery charge gave out. She then proceeded to COMPLETELY. LOSE. HER. SHIT, screaming at the top of her lungs that somebody needed to come outside and charge up her "goddamn buggy." Not once did she attempt to get her fat ass up and out of the scooter chair, walk the 10 steps or so to the nearest scooter garage, and procure herself another buggy.

    Of course, the funniest part was that the scooter had pooped out right in front of the automatic door sensor, so the door would keep opening and closing, as if taunting her.

    1. MissTaken

      Bless her heart

      No really, someone should bless that poor heart that has to pump blood throughout that entire body

    2. Doktor Zoom

      You know, that sounds like something from The City. You may want to send it to the guy who writes it for his "true stories" feature.

    3. BaldarTFlagass

      And being the gentleman that we all know you are, Elvis, I have no doubt that you were rolling around in the parking lot laughing your ass off ran right over there and helped her out.

      1. elviouslyqueer

        Shoot, I know way better than that. Besides, as my mother always told me, a true gentleman respects the crazy and gives it a wide berth.

    1. AJWjr.

      NNnnnnooooooooo!!1! What a waste of classic iron you suggest! There aren't enough of them in existence to mount up even a regiment, anyway…

      1. weejee

        Okay, I'll give ya' that it would be a waste of classic iron. Then how about:

        Put them all on Suzuki Hayabusa crotch rockets running nitrous boost or GTFO.

        Thinning the herd in dramatic fashion, on Teatard at a time.

    2. V572 Hair of Destiny

      Ha ha, I was just watching (on Netflix) the retro 1949 episode of "Top Gear" where they "race" a Vincent Black Shadow, an XK-120, and a gorgeous old steam locomotive from London to Edinburgh. Beautiful machines, although the little guy was rather whacked at the end of his ride on the bike.

      1. weejee

        Well there is that space-time continuum thingie where you start to see yourself coming at yourself, sorta, kinda. Well maybe those bikes weren't quite that fast, but the effect would be similar.

  18. BlueMonkeh

    Hey, now – them Scooterz aren't gonna pay for 'emselves.

    Free market!!! Jerb Craterz!!!

  19. Doktor Zoom

    I certainly hope that the auditors will keep their EYES WIDE OPEN to search for fraud in billing Medicare for scooters that are ON SALE NOW for a price far lower than the government is being billed.

  20. BaldarTFlagass

    I wonder if you can buy a sticker with a little Calvin pissing on a Rascal emblem, or a Go-Go emblem, or a Zip'r emblem, or a Jazzy emblem.

  21. BlueMonkeh


    Seriously, response that one of my facebook "friends" had to a completely unrelated post, distilled to it's essence.

  22. MissTaken

    I was out walking (I know weird, right?!) during my lunch this week here in SF. There was a man on a scooter blocking the sidewalk from the rest of the pedestrians. Not a wheelchair, a scooter. Hell, those in wheelchairs here usually have the non-motorized ones that require arm movement. Anyways, this man was large and plopped on his scooter while smoking a cigarette. Needless to say everyone who walked by gave him the dirtiest stank eye you ever seen.

    Everyone knows that only pot smoke is allowed on the streets of SF.

  23. proudgrampa

    Hmmm. Let's see… $723 million is what percentage of the, oooh, let's say the military budget?

    For the 2010 fiscal year, the president's base budget of the Department of spending on "overseas contingency operations" brings the sum to $663.8 billion (per Wikipedia).

    Ooookay. So. 723 million divided by 663.8 billion, hmmmmmmm. If I got my zeroes right, 10% of the Pentagon budget.

    I daresay the 723 million was much more efficiently utilized (and didn't kill any brown people).

    1. KenLayIsAlive

      Well, not trying to be a smart guy, but your math is a little off. If we spent 10% of the military budget on scooters, there would probably be no room on earth for anything else other than scooters. Which doesn't take away from your point that we can make hundreds of thousands of people's lives better for a tiny tiny fraction of what it costs to… murder people across the globe with little effect even for our safety.

      I'm not sure that $723 million even gets you one bomber anymore.

  24. Tundra Grifter

    "A report released last week by Medicare’s inspector general also showed that 61% of the motorized wheelchairs provided to Medicare recipients in the first half of 2007 went to people who didn’t qualify for them."

    Please remind me – just who was President in mid-2007? Guess he had his mind on important stuff, instead of Medicare fraud and waste.

  25. __kth__

    I knew a guy who used to do service/maintenance on the scooters. He said the rule is supposed to be, if you need the scooter to get around the house, Medicare will pay for it. You aren't supposed to get one if you merely don't have a car, and aren't in good enough shape to walk to the Dairy Queen. But the scooter distributor has doctors they will refer you to, who will sign a prescription for just about anyone.

    1. SorosBot

      You can tell a lot of them are fraudulent from the ads, where Tom Kruz not only says that they won't have to pay anything, but that the company will send callers a list of doctors who can "tell you if a Hovaround is right for you."

    2. BaldarTFlagass

      On the plus side, these same types of doctors help grease the skids for obtaining scrips for medical marijuana.

      1. Biel_ze_Bubba

        They're also handy if you need to sue the city or county for "injuries" on a regular basis.

  26. gullywompr

    You democrats are a bunch of scooter libbies!

    Er, um, uh… Shut up! You know what I meant!

  27. Guppy06

    Such government waste! That's money that could have instead been spent on penis pills and opiates!

    1. Beowoof

      A hard dick on an old white man makes him feel powerful again. Ready to slam all 4 inches to some poor old lady who can't get away without her scooter.

  28. hagajim

    I think we ought to have a giant scooter rally at the Astrodome and blow all the fuckers up while they are inside listening to Fred Thompson talk about how awesome the Rascal is.

  29. Respitetini

    All we need is Sarah Palin and some Trucknutz, and this is Our Wonkette, all in one happy story.

    Baal bless us, every one.

  30. DustBowlBlues

    I turn away from "my" the wonket for an hour, and the happiest news story in months appears. Is there any hope that medicare will foreclose on some of the illegally supplied scooters? Put the fucking scooter industry-paid doctors out of business?

    Let the Kock brothers provide scooters for the old, fat losers.

  31. ttommyunger

    What's sad about this whole story is the fact that I knew this scooter-Medicaire thing was a scam from the fucking get-go. All arranged with profit aforethought built into the rules and regulations.

    1. Ducksworthy

      So. Similar to the Medicare Advantage Plans you say? And the Part D plan to bankrupt the program? Who would do a thing like that?

  32. DustBowlBlues

    Damn, fuck up my own response and it went away.

    I hereby volunteer to travel to OK Walmarts and spring entrapment schemes on fat losers on scooters.

    I'll just stand about six feet away from them and hold a giant bag of Chili-Cheese Fritos in my hand. Then I'll say, "Free for you today, along with this stack of Pizza Pockets and Jimmy Dean chocolate chip pancake wrapped sausage on a stick," this is where I'll gesture to the cart behind me where said items are stacked, "and all you have to do is walk over here and get these," this is where I'll wave an open back of fritos under the salivating fuck's nose.

    Then the secret camera will video them waddling over for their treat. And then I'll make a citizen's arrest and haul them to a special pokey for porkies.

    Brilliant plan, no?

  33. Goonemeritus

    I am not making this up Spanky2 was complaining on one of his posts that his retired parents were finding it harder to get scooters. He was using it as an example for why Socialized medicine is bad.

    1. glamourdammerung

      I saw that one as well and thought pretty much the same thing regarding his hypocrisy. Not as funny as when he was on a crying jag claiming someone made a second account to get around a ban at Big Failure, but still pretty funny for the lack of self awareness involved.

  34. vulpes82

    I just saw a "Cadillac" Hoverround with a drink cup and a remote/candy bar/magazine/random shit carrier. A lot of the elderly will be mighty upset that they're stuck with the basic model, now.

  35. GeorgiaBurning

    Considering the real possibility of concealed explosives disguised as batteries, we shouldn't let those scooters within 150 feet of a polling place. Just sayin'…..

  36. BarackMyWorld

    No snark, but I just saw another ad on tv urging me to call my Democrat senator (no mention was made of our Republican senator) and ask her to stop the wasteful spending…with no mention of what the spending was the ad makers considered wasteful. I really want that ticket to Denmark now.

    1. Doktor Zoom

      Well, now you have something specific to name: Hoverrounds for teatards.

      (Which reminds me, for some reason, of "Pear Pimples for Hairy Fishnuts")

  37. BerkeleyBear

    I have too much knowledge of Medicare/Medicaid to be surprised by this. The joke in our house is that if you build anything and can claim it is for "disabled people" you can immediately triple the price, then bump it again if Medicare or insurance will cover it.
    The scooters aren't the only ones, though. The whole damn medical testing supply scam, catheters and so on are just rife with what most people would call fraud, if some asswipe Congresscritters hadn't written it into law that you can get more damn test strips and catheters than you can ever use at no cost to you (excpet indirectly through taxes). I've seen the corporate documents that show how it has warped the thinking of the producers of these products, much less the parasitic warehouse companies that do all the ads with people like Fred Thompson and Wilfred Brimly about delivering stuff right to your door. The biggest single fear of these fuckers is that Americans might get marginally healthier and drive down demand for overpriced plastic crap many users don't need (or certainly don't need to use as often as the company instructs them to use). Fortunately for them, McDonalds et al seem to be doing just fine.

    1. Ducksworthy

      I have discovered that the Tetracycline for fish works just as well as the prescription variety.

  38. DahBoner

    I hear Mexican Drug Cartel fatties are sneaking across the border, and then riding back in a new scooter!

  39. poorgradstudent

    The teabaggers should have known that Obama would retaliate by hitting them where it hurts.

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