Caution Government at Work

Wanna know why the cost of Medicare is going up?

Raleigh, N.C. — If a wheelchair costs $160, why would Medicare pay eight times as much? That’s the question one local woman asked after her elderly father needed a wheelchair to get around.

As a WRAL investigation found, it’s all in the way Congress set up the spending plan.

A wheelchair seemed like a simple purchase for Jeanne Gunter’s 95-year old-father when he moved to assisted living, but she soon learned that Medicare’s payment system is not so simple.

Medicare rents to own equipment, such as wheelchairs. One wheelchair, for example, costs $104 a month for up to 13 months, which is about $1,300 total. Providers must maintain the liability to repair the chair during the 13 months of rental.

“We could’ve bought a wheelchair,” Gunter said. “I looked at a local pharmacy and looked at a wholesale club, and you could easily get one for $150 to $200 comparable to what we have.”

By all means, let’s have these people run my health insurance program.

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