Debate rages on about tax dollars, sex drugs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 3, 2005

Should your tax dollars help pay for seniors to play? That's the question of the moment as the potential romance lives of millions of American seniors come under discussion.

Now this is not a debate about exactly what Americans do behind closed doors, but rather whether or not the U.S. taxpayer should pay for a drug to give people the ability to fulfill their romantic desires.

At issue is whether or not a government's sponsored program should pay for sexual performance drugs. And, under a new Medicare prescription drug program that will go into effect next year, that's exactly what will happen.

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Critics argue the government has no business using taxpayer dollars for sexual enhancement drugs such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.

"Asking Uncle Sam to pay for the romance of 76 million baby boomers will quicken the impending collapse of Medicare," said Tom Schatz, president of a taxpayer watchdog group, Citizens Against Government Waste.

The debate seems to hinge on whether or not the coverage should include "lifestyle enhancing" versus "lifesaving" medications.

And, even those descriptors might be subject to a broad definition just like Bill Clinton's deposition quiz on the true definition of what the word "is" means.

For the men who have sexual dysfunction, some of the drugs can seem "lifesaving."

On the surface - especially for those who have the ability to obtain such drugs without Medicare assistance - the debate seems simple. No, the government (read: your tax dollars) should not go toward paying for great-grandpa's little "problem."

But go a little deeper into the issue and another debate emerges: Should the lawmakers, not doctors, decide what drugs should and should not be covered?

That's a little bit frightening to an extent. How you feel if you knew a great new drug was out there that would solve your heart issue, for example, but that Medicare didn't cover it because some politician decided it was too expensive or too frivolous.

No doubt this issue will be debated into the wee hours of next year.

Perhaps the debate will spawn a new political party, backed by AARP - the Viagracrats.