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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/14/14

Should Medicare Really Pay for Seniors' Penis Pumps?

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I needed a laugh today. From the Daily Beast, "A report from the Department of Health and Human Services said the government's Medicare program spent $172.4 million on 474,000 claims for vacuum erection systems (VES) for seniors from 2006 to 2011. The yearly claims nearly doubled in cost from $20.6 million in 2006 to $38 million in 2011. If the government had adjusted its payments to what non-Medicare payers spend on penis pumps, the government would have saved about $14.4 million each year. "To those seniors who really do want one, just buy it yourself--you don't need to send the bill to your fellow Americans," said Ben Domenech of the Heartland Institute."

I need to laugh because if I don't, I will cry uncontrollably. Why? I read the above item the morning after I was reviewing charges to Medicare for the foam rubber filter on my CPAP breathing machine. It is approximately 1 & a quarter inches by three quarter inch by one quarter inch and Medicare is charged $13.99. It's a stretch to say it has $.01 worth of material in it.

So I guess if we're going to pay $38 million so sexy seniors can have fun, my filter isn't too much. At least now I can sleep with peace of mind knowing that the air I breathe through my CPAP is purer than the air I breathe all day long. Huh?

Here's really what makes me cry. The premium charged to Medicare is a hidden gift from we taxpayers to the industries who lobby the most and best.

I wonder if there really is a foam rubber industry lobby.

Remember the Part D gift to the pharmaceutical industry? No? Well here's a jog to your memory: By fiat, Medicare cannot negotiate for volume discounts like the VA can. The effect is that the taxpayers pay about 30 percent more for drugs reimbursed by Medicare than the VA.

And the only reason is that our legislators say they can't; a concession to the powerful pharmaceutical industry lobby. If you really want a good long cry, take a look at where the key elected officials who pushed the law through are working today. Don't forget to check their salaries.

But all this is not important to those who just know we can't afford the Affordable Care Act that will insure millions more Americans.

I'm truly sorry for saying this but I think we Americans are crazier than a bunch of outhouse rats.

How can you come to any other conclusion? At last count the majority of Americans didn't want Obamacare because it would cost too much while it's ok to spend $38 million on penis pumps for seniors and give a gift of billions to the pharmaceutical industry. Not to mention that we already pay for healthcare for the uninsured delivered in the most expensive way through the emergency rooms of America.

Why heck, only a nutty Republican would want people to pay their own way. Wait a minute. It was a Republican idea they learned to hate as soon as President Obama included it the ACA.

See! We are crazy. I rest my case.

Anyway back to the main topic. Most of us don't know that seniors want penis pumps, let alone that taxpayers supply them. And being a senior myself, I would think that one penis pump would be sufficient to last a lifetime, thank goodness!

My real fear now is that the fashion industry gets wind of this information and markets the idea of a fashionable look in penis pumps to make a senior stand out. (Pun intended)

Here's an idea: If Medicare continues to pay for penis pumps, insurance companies will pay for contraceptives. And O'Reilly, Limbaugh and Fox News will stop picking on the women who use them.

Robert De Filippis

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Robert De Filippis Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter Page       Linked In Page       Instagram Page

Author, columnist, and blogger with a long career in business management, management consulting and executive coaching. I've authored and published eight books: "You, Your Self and the 21st Century,"The Flowers Are Talking to Me," and "Faith (more...)

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