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Supply for Medical Care is Disrupted

Pet food is in short Supply, according to animal lovers. As a result, customers are being warned that their favorite meals may not be available on the menu. Then there’s the shortage of semiconductor chips, which has pushed up the price of everything from cars to computers to appliances and medical gadgets while also limiting their Supply. It’s inconvenient to wait a few months for a new car. Waiting for medical equipment, on the other hand, can be life-threatening. As a result, our leaders must prioritize bolstering the medical Supply chain.

They can begin by ensuring that enterprises that provide and service medical equipment are adequately compensated to compete for scarce chips and raw materials that they—and their patients—require. These businesses cater to individuals who need home medical equipment such as motorized wheelchairs, ventilators, and home oxygen. Medicare covers more than 63 million of these people. Yet, before the pandemic, Medicare’s reimbursement rates to home medical equipment companies were barely enough to keep them afloat.

Over the previous decade, 35% of Medicare providers have closed or stopped serving beneficiaries. The pandemic has increased the problems they are dealing with. Providers are waiting months for parts to fix things like electric wheelchairs due to global Supply chain strain. Due to a scarcity of some parts, prices have risen by 30% since early 2020. Over the same period, steel for wheelchairs and hospital beds has climbed by more than 60%, while polycarbonate plastics for oxygen tubing, nebulizers, canisters, oxygen, and PAP masks have increased by 100%.

The expense of shipping containers is primarily to blame for these huge increases. The price of these containers has increased by almost 1,200 percent since the outbreak began. Then there’s the chip shortage, which has halted the manufacture of everything from blood pressure monitors to hospital beds that can be controlled remotely.

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