At a recent town hall meeting, President Obama championed home-based care for the elderly and disabled over the much more expensive care offered by institutions. “I actually think homecare ends up being cost-efficient in many cases rather than institutional care, and it helps keep people in their homes,” said Obama. And although many legislators and policymakers agree with him, the Medicare program appears to be encouraging people to do just the opposite.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services maintains policies that restrict patient access to the types of medical equipment, such as power wheelchairs and oxygen, necessary for the elderly to remain in their homes. The new healthcare law discourages beneficiaries from purchasing a power wheelchair for one month after it is initially prescribed.Furthermore, Medicare has adopted a 36-month cap on oxygen reimbursements.