On Wednesday, Aug. 26, a rally protesting proposed Medicare cuts to the standard of care for 2 million amputees will take place at 2 p.m. eastern outside the offices of the Department of Health and Human Services on the north sidewalk in front of 200 Independence Avenue SW. Hundreds of amputees and other concerned individuals from across the U.S. are expected to participate.
“This is another shortsighted attempt at policy change that entirely misunderstands or ignores the complicated needs of wheelchair users and others who use mobility aids to get around and live a fully-functional life,” says Tim Gilmer, editor of New Mobility. Gilmer, a T11 para whose lower left leg was amputated due to complications from SCI and peripheral artery disease, relies on his prosthetic leg to make independent transfers possible. “The proposed change discriminates against those who need mobility aids in addition to prosthetic limbs and is contrary to the spirit of the ADA.”
Advocates and industry experts say proposed changes to Medicare’s reimbursement for lower limb prosthetic care would create unreasonable and clinically unjustified hurdles to amputees receiving care that is now routinely provided. The proposed changes not only would have a devastating impact on Medicare beneficiaries, but on all of the 2 million amputees in the U.S., since commercial health insurance payers tend to follow the lead of Medicare on such matters.
For weeks now, a groundswell of opposition has been growing against the proposed Medicare rule that would have a significant negative impact on America’s amputees. For more information, including how to get involved, go to www.saveprosthetics.org. Also, a petition at We the People calling on President Obama to rescind the Medicare proposal restricting access to prosthetic limbs and returning amputees to a 1970s standard of care has received over 100,000 signatures. The petition will remain open until Aug. 30.