Thursday, February 21, 2013

Terrible News for Old Farts

The company that makes and sells scooters is in trouble:
Executing a search warrant, federal agents Wednesday swarmed the New Braunfels headquarters of The Scooter Store, one of the nation's largest suppliers of power wheelchairs and scooters. 
Authorities wouldn't comment on the reason for the raid, but a source familiar with the investigation said officials were looking for details of how The Scooter Store bills for its equipment. 
The Scooter Store recently has drawn scrutiny for receiving millions in Medicare overpayments from 2009 to 2011. 
Earlier this month, the company underwent another round of layoffs. That came after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that reimbursements for power chairs, scooters and other equipment will be sharply lower starting July 1.
This is a government benefit that doesn't get a lot of attention. There are, of course, people who are grateful for the chance to have Medicare subsidize the costs of their scooter and then there are people who use the benefit and then rail against anything that the government does to make life easier for anyone else--usually, this comes down to a situation where the old fart  who is too fat to walk anymore rolls up on a public forum and screams about the food stamps given to the family of five down the street.

It would not be popular, but it would be the right thing to do if we went after all of those scooter-riding oldsters and told them to pay up on the difference billed to Medicare. After all, eliminating fraud, waste and abuse are popular proposals when it comes to closing the funding gaps for government programs. And it would be a really good idea to make certain that this company does not go out of business. Why punish people who are no longer legitimately ambulatory? If that does happen, then this is just bad, bad news for folks.

Here's how it should have worked. The company should be allowed to make a profit, albeit, not a ridiculous one. They should have charged a fair price for their product, and they should not have taken advantage of the government subsidy. And, if you're an old fart riding one of these around Albert Lea, and if Medicare helped you pay for it, try to be consistent when you tell everyone you hate the government and Obamacare and at least admit your blatant hypocrisy.

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