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May 17, 2005

Medicare; What Should be Impotent

Posted in: Healthcare,Politics

Every wonder why Medicare is a system in crisis? The politicians over time have taken what was once a good idea to provide minimal care for seniors and have so bastardized it over time that it barely resembles anything from what it once was.

The Medicare premise: Providing healthcare to elderly and disabled people at a low cost. If one was to look at what was originally considered covered costs back when the program first began and compare that to today we would all cringe. The idea of the plan was to keep elderly people healthy by providing the basic medical services to them. These services although limited sometimes as “medically necessary” for years provided a comprehensive healthcare maintenance program for many seniors.

Until today. Until the political brain surgeons decided to include impotence drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra to the covered list of drugs to the Medicare drug coverage program. This is probably one of the most stupid and costly additions to the Medicare program ever.

The federal government will spend nearly $2 billion in the next decade on male impotence drugs under its Medicare program, according to a new cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office that is fueling some lawmakers’ efforts to end that spending.

The federal body that runs Medicare ruled earlier this year that drugs to treat male impotence such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra will be covered as of Jan. 1, 2006, when the full drug coverage program created by Congress two years ago takes effect.

Thank God there appears to be some fiscal sanity still left in the Congress.

Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, is sponsoring a bill to prohibit most erectile dysfunction drug sales under Medicare, the government’s insurance program for the elderly and disabled, and released the cost figures yesterday as part of his effort.

Enough is enough folks. Medicare was never intended to cover every little medical need that an individual may have. If the elderly need this so badly then let them buy riders to their policy like we have to. I leave the choice to the elderly on this matter. Would you rather have medical coverage that allows you to deal with acute and chronic illness in your old age without significant increase in premiums or deductible or would you rather have these drugs covered with diminished regular healthcare?

Auto insurance does not cover the replacement of tires or windshield wipers from normal wear an tear. Medicare should never have to cover these services. Let’s remember what Medicare was originally intended to do.

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