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"One Limb For Life" Policy Sparks Debate and Online Petition

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"Thirteen years ago, I lost my leg in a corn silo. The machine grabbed the very bottom shoelace and pulled my foot in," said Paul Selph, the Regional Coordinator for Amputee Empowerment Coordinators.

Selph is one of many amputees and advocates who is speaking out against the policy within the Affordable Care Act in New York State that limits an amputee to one prosthetic per limb per lifetime.

"One prosthesis is not going to last a person their lifetime, " said Dan Bastian, an American Board Certified Prosthetist.

That's Dan Bastian, an artificial limb maker and amputee himself, who started the petition to change the "One Limb Per Life" policy.

"New York State's position on that was well, this isn't a cap because there isn't an exact financial amount associated with it.
Well it is a cap because you're capped at one. You can't have two, you can only have one," said Bastian.

Prosthetist Florent Berger says that research shows if a patient is limited to one prosthetic per limb per lifetime, the cost of healthcare for that patient will actually go up.

"They won't be able to go into rehab effectively, they won't be able to go through their regular life. They might not be able to go back to their job or maintain their job."

Though petition advocates say the policy violates the Affordable Care Act by discriminating based on age and against the disabled, officials say this policy is not set in stone.

"Consumers have the ability to speak to their individual health plans and seek an exception to the rules. It doesn't mean that they will always get it, but they certainly can look for exceptions to the rule," said Leslie Moran, with the New York Health Plan Association.

Bastian says exceptions are not good enough when it comes to essential health care--and he will continue the fight to change the policy.

As for Selph, he says his life would be much different had he only received one prosthesis.

"Without the option of having a new prosthetic or at least a new prosthetic socket, then I would not be able to be working today."