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”]