Iowans should be cautious before jumping to order a motorized wheelchair based on a T-V infomercial. Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s hearing complaints the ads may not be telling the full story and many Iowans may be getting stuck with expensive appliances. Grassley says “what we have is some aggressive marketers that are making it sound like if Medicare doesn’t pay for something, you don’t have to spend anything out of your own pocket.” Grassley says it may be misleading information and he fears some people are getting stuck with the bill. He hopes to have a hearing on the issue this spring with testimony from the General Accounting Office. He’s asked the GAO to brief his staff on Medicare reimbursement policies for motorized wheelchairs in light of “explosive spending” in this area. He says people may be getting the costly chairs when they don’t really need them, yet they’re getting them free through Medicare — which is also a problem as it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars. Grassley says “no one who qualifies for a Medicare-financed motorized wheelchair should be denied one,” adding, “The questions are whether the reimbursement rules are too lax, whether government oversight of those rules is too weak, and if so, whether some providers are exploiting those circumstances to make a fast, dirty buck. Undeserved provider profits would drain Medicare dollars from the beneficiaries who really need them. If that’s happening, we have to stop it now.” —–
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