Doctors are ordering these things for their patients in order to give them more independence. They are unable to own cars and have no way other than public transit to go grocery shopping. In an area that is two blocks away from a Tops Market, a JC Penney, a Dollar Tree and Staples, there are three Senior/Low income housing buildings. They account for over 30 of these motorized wheelchairs, and in all but 3 cases, the reasons they exist are health issues caused by obesity.
Each one of these chairs is paid for by Medicare/Medicaid. Each one of these chairs costs $3000. Add to that the cost of the medications which are necessary to control their various problems, the aide that comes every week to help them shower and keep their apartments clean and we're talking a sizeable chunk of change being spent on people who are not yet old enough for retirement. They are all on SSI or SSD which is paid for by our tax dollars.
Three times a week I work in one of these buildings where I have the pleasure of watching this money being spent so that these people can cost the system more money down the road. One of these "motorized wheelchair bound" women is less than 40 years old. According to mainstream medicine, it's not her fault that she weighs more than 300 pounds. It's a disease. One which is being contributed to by the mobility she has in her motorized wheelchair.
She can't afford to buy fruits and vegetables because she buys things like frozen pizza, Hot Pockets, potato chips, cookies, doughnuts, cake and candy. All paid for by food stamps. She just got her chair last month. She couldn't figure out why she was out of food stamps all ready this month. I can. When she had to walk to the store, she didn't go as often so when she ran out of cake and candy, she did without. Going to the store isn't the problem. It's the uphill walk coming home that is. Now she has transportation and can go whenever she wants something. She can't clean her own apartment, but she can go to the store every day now.
I don't understand, since 33% of our population is obese, why the system enables it to continue? The same system that pays for these motorized chairs will not pay for services of a nutritionist, nor gym memberships. The problem of obesity and the related health issues costs the system major amounts of money, yet none of that money is spent doing anything that will change the problem. Why not?
I don't know, maybe I'm just jealous. For a little more than half the cost of a motorized chair, I've taken myself from a BMI of 35 to a 29. While I am still overweight, I'm no longer obese. I'm no more or less self indulgent than any other person I know. If I can do it so can anyone else.
These people can't have these chairs unless a doctor orders it. Maybe we should change the system to make these people on SSI and SSD, be more accountable? I have a brother-in-law with 25% of a functioning heart that keeps himself alive by following doctor's orders. Including a daily walk. Don't tell me these people really need these chairs, I know better. Out of those 30 people in chairs, 27 of them would improve through proper nutrition and exercise. Tools that are readily available to all of them, but they are encouraged to continue with their choices by rewarding them with motorized chairs. Our tax dollars and the Scooter Store at work. Amazing!