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Medicare ‘Part D’ Pays $3.1M For Viagra

From the Politico:

Medicare mistakenly pays for Viagra

By Brett Coughlin
March 14, 2011

It is against the law for Medicare to pay for prescriptions to Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs, but the government health program paid claims worth $3.1 million for those drugs, the HHS Office of Inspector General has found.

The claims were paid in 2007 and 2008. The problem stems from a mistake in editing software that was supposed to block Part D coverage for the drugs, the HHS OIG reported.

And these people getting Viagra weren’t even in a Milwaukee teachers union. Oh, well, if it was just a computer glitch – then that is okay.

The OIG has recommended that CMS recoup payment for the drugs and “strengthen internal controls to help ensure that drugs covered by Medicare Part D comply with federal requirements.” This can be accomplished by maintaining an up-to-date list of all ED drugs, making sure that Part D plans have that list and periodically updating the software employed to deny payment for those drugs.

You see, the bureaucrats (at whatever the CMS is) did not know that Viagra was an ‘Erectile Dysfunction’ drug because they didn’t have an up-to-date list. Viagra being such an obscure brand.

Notice, too, that it is just a recommendation that the CMS "recoup payment." They aren’t going to get tough about it. After all, it’s just taxpayer money. It’s not real.

Congress nixed Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for Viagra, manufactured by Pfizer, in a Hurricane Katrina relief bill approved in 2005. The law was a response to news that the New York Medicaid program was paying for prison inmates to take the drug.

This is government oversight? They only find out about such things because of news reports – probably from a tabloid?

The same law, however, allowed Pfizer to sell a nearly identical drug – Revatio – to Medicare patients who suffer from vascular degeneration, but at a much higher price

So those in the know will still get their ‘Viagra,’ but just at a much higher cost to the taxpayer. How perfectly typical.

And what a nice preview of life under Obama-care, when these stories will be multiplied by ten thousand.

Total payments for Part D claims were $133 billion in 2007 and 2008.

Which, of course, is the real scandal here.

By the way, when the ‘Medicare Part D’ bill was up for passage back in 2003 we were told it would (only) cost $395 for ten years. Or less than $40 billion a year.

My how time flies.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, March 15th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

10 Responses to “Medicare ‘Part D’ Pays $3.1M For Viagra”

  1. NoNeoCommies says:

    I’m sure they will keep it up.

    • JohnMG says:

      Hooray!! Another triumph for someone willing to exploit the free market system. I forsee a viable niche market for an up-and-coming enterprise. :-}

    • proreason says:

      We should erect a monument to bush for coming up with Part D. It’s legislation that will last a long time, and viagra is just the climax of thoroughly satisfying coupling of free entrprise and goverment.

  2. Rusty Shackleford says:

    I became concerned when “Part D” was fully erected and lasted longer than four hours.

    • tranquil.night says:

      Don’t consult an ObamaCare physician, despite the recommendation. Results are long-term to permanent flaccidity due to increased toxic spending, choking taxation, and immobilizing regulation.

      Best just to hang a towel over it and look away. The embarassing fruits of erhm “Compassionate Conservatism.”

  3. Liberals Demise says:

    Obama Health Care just went limp.

  4. preparing4theworst says:

    I hear it keeps the older men from rolling out of bed at night…..

  5. Astravogel says:

    In the spirit of some of the other comments:
    WARNING! Do NOT take Iron suppliments
    with Viagra; you’ll point North!

  6. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Q: What happens when Obama takes Viagra?

    A: He gets taller.

  7. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    This what happens when the federal government starts dicking around with our health care.


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