Not a Feel Good Story
Updated: Mar 7, 2019
Why didn't Medicaid pay for the power chair? CNN is running this as a feel good story _ look how the kid's friend helped him with such a generous gift. In reality, the story, aside from the friend's altruism, shows that disabled people aren't getting the services and supports they are entitled to. Maybe the family didn't know what was available. Maybe they don't provide power chairs to people who need them in Arkansas, I don't know. But if they are available with federal funding in one state it stands to reason they should be available in all the others. That's just plain common sense. Even so, I've heard stories about how difficult it is to get a power chair or even wheelchair in New York State. There are lots of hoops to jump through and lots of delays _ during the months and years this can take, the individual suffers from decreased mobility and is further isolated from society. This has a very human cost. Often people choose to buy their own wheelchairs because the bureaucracy is too complicated or the one's that Medicaid would approve are too bulky or not sufficiently tailored to their needs. This highlights another problem, since most of the wheelchairs in the U.S. are paid for through insurance, many of the more innovative models available abroad are hard to get here and often impossible to pay for. If these devices are what an individual needs to get around that is the cost of making them a viable productive, citizen. That's what the insurance company is there to pay for, isn't it?