The Obama administration is trying to disentangle itself from another controversy over Medicare coverage. Amputees are protesting this time, fearing they’ll be denied the latest technology for artificial legs and feet.
Medicare spending for those items soared in the last 10 years, even as the number of amputees declined because of improved diabetes care. That prompted scrutiny from government investigators.
Recently, Medicare’s billing contractors proposed closer medical supervision of the independent technicians who sell and fit artificial limbs, as well as tighter rules for patients to qualify for high-tech devices that can cost as much as a car. The proposal is technical, but industry says it would translate to diminished quality of life for beneficiaries.