A new proposal would impose harsher requirements for the allocation of prosthetic limbs to amputees.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, a recent Medicare proposal would limit the access of health program members to prosthetic limbs, angering both amputees and the manufacturers of prosthetic devices.
Members of the American Orthotic Prosthetic Association and the Amputee Coalition have announced their intention to protest the proposal, which includes a requirement for the amputee to be able to walk naturally using the prosthetic limb and without the aid of a cane. Many of the opponents view this standard to be offensive.
Approximately two million people living in the United States have suffered from an amputation, and while there are only around 150,000 currently enrolled to Medicare, critics of the proposal claim that this limiting proposal could also be adopted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or other private insurers.
Bob Kerrey, a former U.S. senator from Nebraska, lost a part of his right leg during his military service in Vietnam, and has described Medicare’s new proposal as a “stupid rule,” which disregards the concerns of amputees.
Medicare’s proposal was motivated by an audit by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general in 2011. According to the audit, Medicare was spending tens of millions of dollars on unnecessary prosthetic limbs, ignoring other health concerns from patients. A hearing has been arranged on Wednesday in Arundel County, Maryland.