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$172 Million Spent By U.S. Government On Penis Pumps

Update Date: Jan 14, 2014 09:10 AM EST

Through its Medicare service between 2006 and 2011, the U.S. government spent $172 million on penis pumps, according to a government watchdog’s report released yesterday. The penis pumps are valued at twice the price they would have cost in a store.

According to the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services the health insurance system for seniors paid for nearly 474,000 claims for vacuum erection systems, Daily Mail reported. 

In 2006, the claims for the device was $20.6 million which rose to $38.6 million in 2011. Penis pumps are one of the most common treatment for erectile dysfunction.

“Medicare payment amounts for VES remain grossly excessive compared with the amounts that non-Medicare payers pay,” said the report, published in December 2013.

“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 report also said if Medicare had adjusted the payments to approximately at the price that non-Medicare pay, it would have saved about $14.4 million for each of the six years.

“Considering the strain retiring baby boomers will soon be placing on Medicare’s budget, shouldn’t we be focusing this entitlement program on real, life-saving treatment and equipment to serve the health needs of seniors - instead of subsidizing penis pump purchases?” said Ben Domenech of the Heartland Institute think tank an email statement to Daily Mail.

“And to those seniors who really do want one,’ added Domenech, ’just buy it yourself - you don’t need to send the bill to your fellow Americans.”

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