The PJ Tatler

Medicare Bought Penis Pumps at Massively Inflated Prices

This story should get a rise out of spending hawks.

American taxpayers are “grossly” overpaying for penis pumps for Medicare beneficiaries to the tune of millions of dollars each year, a government watchdog says.

The inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services found that Medicare payments for vacuum erection systems (VES) — a treatment for erectile dysfunction — are more than double the amounts paid for the same or similar devices by people who are not part of the government health program.

The little-noticed IG report, completed in December, is grabbing attention this week as Congress turns its focus to a new $1.1 trillion budget agreement and efforts to cut waste.

Medicare spent $38.6 million on VES in 2011 – up from $20.6 million in 2006, the report found.  All told, the government spent $172 million over the five-year period.  The IG called it a “grossly excessive” use of taxpayer dollars.

The report found taxpayers could save about $14.4 million a year if Medicare put a payment limit on the devices and/or included them in a competitive bidding program.

Government engorged with money becomes a big, stupid beast. It’s like the blood just rushes out of its brain and it can’t think anymore.