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IEET > Rights > Disability > Life > Enablement > Innovation > Health > Vision > Technoprogressivism > Affiliate Scholar > B. J. Murphy

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Health Insurance to Cover Exoskeleton Suits, One Step Closer to Humai Acceptance


B. J. Murphy
By B. J. Murphy
medium.com

Posted: Feb 28, 2016

According to ReWalk Robotics Ltd. via PR Newswire:

“ReWalk Robotics Ltd., the leading global exoskeleton developer and manufacturer, announced today that a commercial health plan in the Northwest region of the United States has approved coverage and reimbursement for a ReWalk Personal exoskeleton system, following the ruling of an external independent review organization that overturned the health plan’s initial denial of coverage.”

This is a major step in the right direction. For too long people have been neglected crucial technologies that would help them thrive in life, simply because private health insurance companies refused to regard them as anything other than a mere “want.” While the disabled can certainly get by in life with low-tech devices, such as canes, wheelchairs, etc., we should instead be emphasizing on the necessity for life to thrive, not simply get by.

What makes this decision by the medical review board so important is that it finally recognizes the ability to actually walk as a right to all patients whom are paralyzed, as opposed to being a mere privilege. For the first time in history, robotic exoskeleton suits are now considered “medically necessary!”

Of course, we are still far from achieving full acceptance of a cyborg future from the medical industry. For now, ReWalk stands alone as being the first piece of Transhumanist-esque technology to be accepted by the medical community. But with time, and enough pressure, it won’t be standing alone soon enough.

So what is the ReWalk exoskeleton suit?

 

The testimonial provided in the video above just comes to show the power of today’s advanced technologies. Originally wheelchair-bound, David was able to use the ReWalk exoskeleton suit to become able-bodied once more, walking at his own behest — or as he explains it, he has become a ReWalker!

In accordance to Humai’s vision of the future, robotic exoskeleton suits are a perfect example of humans using advanced technology to overcome their biological limitations. One could say that they’re a stepping stone technology towards a not-too-distant future. A future where humans opt for elective surgical amputations of their biological limbs in favor of more efficient artificial, bionic systems.

The Humai bionic body replacement of our biological substrate will be a crowning achievement from both a scientific and technological point of view. What’s equally important, however, is for the medical community to accept it as well. Not only would it help extend our reach for potential users, but it would subsequently go a long way in helping bring down the cost, and thus increase access. After all, what’s the point of having advanced technologies when you can’t even afford to use them?

Until then, however, Humai will be doing everything it can to ensure everyone benefits from the future they’re helping to build. As the company’s CEO Josh Bocanegra told me last month:

“I believe in democratic values. I think this technology must be available to as many people as possible, including those in the middle class and low-income families… As CEO, I’m willing to lose profit earnings if necessary to help those in need.”

Humanity is embarking on a huge transformation, from cyborg to post-human, aided by advanced science and technology. And if you’re disabled in anyway, all that means is that you’re in the front of the line. The world of tomorrow is closer than you might think. The beginning is near!


B.J. Murphy is a Technoprogressive Transhumanist activist within the East Coast region of the U.S. He's worked with the asteroid mining company Planetary Resources as a member of their Planetary Community Vanguard, helping campaign funding for the ARKYD 100 Space Telescope, an open-source means of space exploration. He is a Writer, Editor, and Social Media Manager for SeriousWonder.com and runs his own blog called The Proactionary Transhumanist. He's a co-author of both Longevitize!: Essays on the Science, Philosophy & Politics of Longevity and The Future of Business: Critical Insights On a Rapidly Changing World From 60 Futurists.
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