Speed Reads


If Medicare didn't cover penis pumps, U.S. taxpayers would save $44 million a year

House Republicans don't think Big Brother should be funding erectile dysfunction treatment, and have written a bill that could end Medicare funding for "vacuum pump systems" (a.k.a. penis pumps) and save $450 million worth of taxpayer money over the next decade.

The Washington Times reports that the government paid for nearly 475,000 vacuum pump systems between 2006 and 2011. What's more, analysis found that Medicare "grossly overpaid" for the systems — shelling out more than $450 per pump, or twice as much as what other agencies paid. Investigators also found that buying the devices online would cost only about $165 per system.

Republicans argue that since Medicare is forbidden from covering other erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra, it shouldn't cover the pumps. A yearly average of $44 million could be saved from cutting penis pumps from Medicare, savings that Congress hopes to use for ABLE Act, a bill to benefit disabled Americans.