Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Medicare, Hearing Aids, & Power Chairs

Medicare, Hearing Aids, & Power Chairs

I am constantly seeing ads for various powered wheelchairs on TV--and they emphasize that if you are eligible for Medicare, and have a need for this, it may not cost you anything at all to get one! So I was quite surprised to find out that Medicare doesn't pay for hearing aids.

Now, I can see the argument for why they might not cover any durable medical goods--after all, they have to keep expenses under control, and many Medicare recipients don't need durable medical goods like this.

I can see the argument for why hearing aids should be covered, just like those fancy power chairs.

I can see the argument that says that some durable medical goods are more of a convenience than a necessity. But I am hard pressed to see why the power chairs are any more of a necessity than hearing aids.

What I don't understand is why one surprisingly expensive item gets covered, and another surprisingly expensive item isn't covered. Do the makers of these power chairs have their factory in some rather important member of Congress' district?

I ask this question not because I have any pressing concern about this for myself, but because it seems rather unfair--and it raises questions about the fairness that we might expect from whatever plan Obama foists on us.

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