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Tue Nov 13, 2012, 12:04 AM

Can Obamacare cure bureaucracy?

My forehead is once again bearing the indentations of bricks, acquired through repeated bashings of head against wall.

My sister, God bless her, bought me a plane ticket so that I can spend part of the holidays with family. This was planned in accordance with what Medicare told me last year about my oxygen requirement, that by this time this year I would qualify for one of the portable airline-approved oxygen concentrators. This afternoon I learned that Medicare has now decided that I will not qualify until 2014.

Last year they were saying that I hadn't been on the program long enough. I disputed that, seeing as how I've been on oxygen since 2001. Now they're tying it to the 'new' home concentrator their requirements provided in early 2009. I've given up trying to make sense of it.

Wouldn't be so bad, but I fly out of Denver and, since 9-11, oxygen is no longer available at the airport. That's a particularly bad thing for those passengers who arrive to find out that altitude can have some unpleasant side effects. Anyway, the machines can be rented, but for those of us on small fixed incomes that cost can be prohibitive. A little warning would have been nice. Better yet, a consistent and coherent policy that is comprehensible to patients.



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