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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Viagra for Sex Offenders Coming Soon to a Health Benefit Exchange Near You

Readers may recall  Senator Coburn's amendment to the reconciliation sidecar legislation that would prevent sex offenders from receiving taxpayer funded Viagra and other erectile drug therapies. Politico posted the text of the amendment March 23rd, noting Republicans were doing their best to derail the reconciliation package by forcing Democrats to take some hard votes to avoid sending the bill back to the House:
No Erectile Dysfunction Drugs To Sex Offenders – This amendment would enact recommendations from the Government Accountability Office to stop fraudulent payments for prescription drugs prescribed by dead providers or, to dead patients. This amendment also prohibits coverage of Viagra and other ED medications to convicted child molesters, rapists, and sex offenders, and prohibits coverage of abortion drugs. (Note: the creation of exchanges could allow sex offenders to receive taxpayer-funded Viagra and other ED drugs unless Congress expressly prohibits this action – see additional background attached)
No one appears to have taken Coburn's warning very seriously and it was too much to hope they read the additional background material Coburn provided.  The amendment failed in a 57-42 vote and was later described as ""a crass political stunt aimed at making 30-second (political) commercials.”" by Senator Max Baucus.  Baucus further suggested the amendment made a "mockery" of a serious bill.  Baucus might want to rethink which was the serious bill and which was the "mockery."  Both Roll Call and Fox News  report on a Congressional Research Service memo that confirms there is indeed nothing in the new law that would prevent sex offenders from receiving Viagra through taxpayer subsidized health benefit exchanges just as Coburn warned:
The CRS said there are no provisions in the new health care law "which would require health plans to limit the type of benefits that can be offered based on the plan beneficiary's prior criminal convictions."

"Additionally, there do not appear to be any provisions that would specifically restrict qualified health plans' coverage of drugs prescribed to treat ED," the memo read.

"Therefore, a convicted rapist, child molester, or other sex offender who is not incarcerated would not appear to be excluded from enrolling in a qualified health plan through an American Health Benefit Exchange in their state solely because of that conviction," the memo added.
Senate Democrats failed in their efforts to spare the House another vote.  Was it all worth it, the second House vote passed with more of a whimper than a bang.   Now it seems the Democrats are the ones who are left to sort out the sordid details of their own bill.  Does that amendment vote still look good in the light of day?   I'll bet not, though Democrats aren't likely to admit regrets for having chosen the blue pill.  The deed is done and Democrats now face what is bound to be the world's longest "walk of shame."  Expect the video sometime before November.

5 comments:

  1. If Sen Coburn were serious about this issue he could have introduced it during the open debate about the original HCR bill. He had months and months of time to take this action, but did he?

    In fact, he could introduce this as a stand-alone piece of legislation; if it is as good of an idea as described, he might get many co-sponsors and easy passage on its merits (not on political gamesmanship). Will he? Will any Republican?

    These types of trumped up issues are pathetic as they are so easily explained and debunked.

    Please try and be a little serious and not waste time and space with such simplistic drivel.

    FYA

    p.s. I do want to offer my thanks to Sen Coburn for his brave comments recently, accurately describing Leader Pelosi as a nice person. It was especially heartening to hear his unflattering comments on Fox News, and their trustworthiness (or lack there-of).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the advice I will try and be more serious while I wait for Democrats to finish the walk of shame. Maybe if Republicans were given serious consideration of their ideas by the Democrats you all would not be looking at total devastation come November. It will be an awful shame when that gavel is pried from Leader Pelosi's grasp, it couldn't happen to a nicer lady.

    ReplyDelete
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  4. In fact, he could introduce this as a stand-alone piece of legislation; if it is as good of an idea as described, he might get many co-sponsors and easy passage on its merits (not on political gamesmanship). Will he? Will any Republican?

    These types of trumped up issues are pathetic as they are so easily explained and debunked.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The real story lies ahead where the most important point among it is to find the cure for ED.Nice post and a very interesting blog to read.

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