Government Paid 'Obscene and Insulting' $1/4 Billion on Penis Pumps in 10 Years, Gov't Report Shows

(Photo: Screen Grab via YouTube/SDvariations)A Vacuum Erection System (VES) commonly known as the penis pump.

In a splurge health policy experts have called "obscene and insulting" taxpayers spent more than a quarter of a million dollars on vacuum erection systems (VES) popularly known as "penis pumps" in the last 10 years through Medicare according the Health and Human Services Inspector General.

A report in The Washington Free Beacon notes that the federal government also paid more than twice the retail price of the pumps which the IG highlights "remain grossly excessive compared with the amounts that non-Medicare payers pay."

The government was billed some $175 million in the five year period between 2006 and 2011 when 473,620 VES claims were made overall.

The astronomical payments have struck a nerve with some health policy experts who have balked at the waste.

"This is a perfect example of what happens when government becomes the be all and end all of human existence — a system where everyone has a right to a taxpayer-funded penis pump," Ben Domenech, a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute said.

"The fact that taxpayers have spent more than a quarter of a billion dollars over the past decade on penis pumps via Medicare is obscene and insulting — even more so when you consider that this is an arena of Medicare expenditures rife with fraud and where the government doesn't even bother to assess medical necessity," he explained.

Vacuum erection systems are covered by Medicare Part B under the health program's Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding initiative. The pumps, are used to treat impotence.

The Department of Health and Human Services has paid increasingly more for the pumps over the years with $20.6 million for 61,589 claims in 2006 and $38.6 million for 103,448 claims in 2011.

Federal watchdogs have been trying to manage the payments over the years and even Congress asked that the issue be examined. After an assessment was carried out regarding the pay schedule for the products, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was asked to amend it to cut the waste but it never did.

"Medicare currently pays suppliers more than twice as much for VES as the Department of Veterans Affairs and consumers over the Internet pay for these types of devices," the IG found.

The report noted that taxpayers could save millions, an average of $14.4 million annually, if Medicare payments for the VES are properly managed.

Medicare Overpaying for Vacuum Erection Systems
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