Did you know where your taxes were going?
Want proof that our nation's Medicaid system needs an overhaul? Look no further than Florida, New York and 12 other states including Ohio where taxpayers were buying Viagra and other impotence drugs for convicted sex offenders.
As the health insurance program for the poor, Medicaid is treated differently across the nation but a recent survey revealed that nearly 800 convicted sex offenders were reimbursed for impotence drugs such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra.
The states that provided registered sex offenders with subsidized impotence drugs are Florida, 218 cases; New York, 198; Texas, 191; New Jersey, 55; Virginia, 52; Missouri, 26; Kansas, 14; Ohio, 13; Michigan, seven; Maine, five; Georgia, three; Montana, three; Alabama, two; and North Dakota, one. That comes to 788 cases.
In New York, the nearly 200 rapists and high-risk sex offenders were reimbursed for the drugs purchased after their convictions. In Florida, Medicaid programs spent nearly $100,000 of taxpayer dollars over the past year to provide Viagra to 218 sex offenders.
"The bottom line is, giving convicted sex offenders government-funded Viagra is like giving convicted murderers an assault rifle when they get out of jail," said Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat.
Gary Karr, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said states always have had the right to determine what treatments are medically necessary and that confusion over a 1998 federal directive apparently resulted in Medicaid-paid Viagra for sex offenders.
The federal government told states last week that they must ensure these drugs do not go to sex offenders and more changes may be on the horizon. Congress has considered banning coverage of impotence drugs for all Medicaid and Medicare recipients, a move that would reportedly save $2 billion over the next decade.
Sounds like a good start, but more likely needs to be done. Tax dollars should be used for people with legitimate health concerns. Impotence may be an issue that affects many Americans but not one that taxpayers should be left to shoulder the burden of while there are families that cannot afford to provide adequate health care for their children.
How many other situations such as this exist? Taxpayers should be outraged that their hard-earned money is being spent like this.
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