Wheelchair accessories to increase in cost - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wheelchair accessories to increase in cost

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

By January 1, 2016, people who use wheelchairs will have to pay more for their accessories, thanks to changes in Medicare.

That's why the Protect My Independence Group is gathering signatures around the nation and at UNI.

There's a group dedicated to helping people who use wheelchairs live normal and independent lives.

Right now, they're gathering signatures to give to President Obama so he can review the changes.

By the beginning of the year, wheel chair accessories like chair cushions, tilt systems, and specialty drive controls will cost more, unless law makers make a change.

"Being secluded to a wheel chair is hard itself. If you're going to take away that, it's going to make it harder for them, they are going to have more medical expenses, you're going to have more of them, there are going to be more problems than before. It just made me frustrated," UNI student, Leah Karns said.

Karns said she was eager to sign the Protect My Independence petition.

If it gets 100,000 signatures by October 23rd, the group organizers will send it to President Obama for review.

"It's all about the reimbursements, and about keeping patients with access and having health days," VGM Director of Government Relations, Tom Powers said.

Supporters are concerned if they don't get more signatures, people who use wheelchairs won't qualify for Medicare reimbursement, and will pay more out of pocket.

"Really, it's going to limit their ability to get out into the public arena and be as active as they can be, as they want to be, and as they should be," supporter Jack Eherenman said.

Right now, the group has 13,000 signatures with 87,000 to go.

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