Friday, September 18, 2009

Follow Up to Yesterday's iBot Story

Yesterday, I wrote about another health care nightmare, this time from my own country.  Here is a follow up message I received from my friend in California today.
"Yeah, briefly, what happened was that the company could not create a viable market for the iBot because there was too much resistance to it. It was on various fronts. The wheelchair, Sophia's costing $23,900, is comparable to many power wheelchairs. Her friend got a regular power chair last year that cost $17,000." 
"Everyone found excuses to avoid funding the iBot. Government-run health plans, including Medi-Cal (California's Medicaid) would not pay for it. Private insurance companies would not pay for it by saying it was not medically necessary. Some plans even had specific exclusions that mentioned iBot by name. Only the VA was buying them for veterans."
"Even the disabled community would not support it, for various reasons. They would either complain that a chair that could go up stairs or curbs would discourage businesses from adapting and complying with ADA. Or they felt it was a dangerous device. Or they would complain about the cost. Millions invested and lost in all this too."
That last paragraph is just stunning!  THAT is precisely why the government shouldn't be involved in private matters.  The power of the atrocious and rights-violating ADA is keeping many disabled people from having the latest and greatest technology, much less our soldiers coming home from war.  :-(


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