Viagara for Sex Offenders — Not an Onion Satire

At last, there’s something we can ALL agree upon: It’s bad public policy to provide Medicaid reimbursement for Viagara and other erectile dysfunction drugs to sex offenders. No one–not Jesse Jackson, not even the A.C.L.U. — objected when Gov. Mark R. Warner signed an emergency regulation blocking the benefit for 52 of Virginia’s registered offenders. The very idea of subsidizing the libido of sex offenders is so ludicrous that only a government bureaucracy acting on auto-pilot or the satirical Web publication The Onion — one of today’s headlines: “Bush Caught in One of His Own Terror Traps“) — could have come up with it.

But there’s a larger question: Why is Medicaid subsidizing erectile dysfunction drugs for anyone?

According to Frank Green’s story in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate that Medicaid spends about $38 million a year nationally on erectile dysfunction drugs. With about one out of 40 U.S. residents living in the Old Dominion, that would imply about $1 million a year paid here in Virginia.

Medicaid is busting the state budget. Shouldn’t we be husbanding our finite resources for long-term care of the infirm, and for treatment of serious illnesses among the poor rather than for a lifestyle enhancement? Given our parlous fiscal circumstances, paying public dollars to buy Viagara for anyone is a scandal.

Unfortunately, Gov. Warner cannot sign a bill simply payments to the broader Medicaid population. Virginia appears to be bound by a 1998 Medicaid order mandating coverage for the drugs. (I wonder whose lobbyist got that rule inserted?) Perhaps it’s time for Virginia’s congressional delegation to get to work on reversing that order.

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  1. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    While this is obviously an outrageous failure of commonsense, I see it as part of a continuum related to wht you wrote of the other day–mandated coverages on insurance policies that drive costs up. In this case, ill-placed concern for non-discrimination or some other normally worthy precept results in an absurb expenditure of precious public money–money collected from the private sector.

    We all know that health care is rationed in this country, but it’s rationed between the insured and the uninsured, instead of among vital and nice to have services or among diseases of fate or diseases related to lifestyle.

    I’m sorry, but if I could insure several people for the amount spent on treating one person’s erectile dysfunction or another’s drug/alcohol treatment, that’s how I’d ration health care.

  2. Dr.Larry Avatar

    This is one fact that might be unknown to the majority of the people and I bet once you people know the truth you would be completely jolted. It has been found in a research that watching too much porn might do no good to a person’s sex drive. Infact it might just yield the opposite results. And in case you get caught in ED for whatever reason you might need to take the help of the following link .

  3. Virginia Avatar

    Erectile Dysfunction is sometimes dismissed as a mere “lifestyle condition.” As a result, there is often a real stigma associated with openly discussing ED. However, erectile dysfunction can lead to a range of serious psychological problems that have the potential to wreak havoc with a person’s well-being or relationships.

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