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Your Tax Dollars at Work? Not!

At the Heartland Institute today, this news item: “Quarter-Billion Taxpayer Dollars Spent on Penis Pumps.”  According to Benjamin Domenech of the Heartlander:

“According to data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare has spent more than $240 million of taxpayer money on penis pumps for elderly men over the past decade, and will surpass a quarter of a billion dollars this year for costs since 2001.

“The cost to taxpayers for the pumps more than quadrupled during that period, from a low of $11 million in 2001 to a high of more than $47 million in 2010. And these represent only the costs for external devices, technically classified as “Male Vacuum Erection Systems,” not implantable devices or oral drugs such as Viagra.”

In addition to questionable medical needs, Domenech adds a concern about fraud:

“One area of concern for CMS is the rise in fraud in relation to the pump devices. Earlier this year an Illinois man pled guilty to collecting more than $2 million from Medicare in a fraudulent operation where he repackaged $26 items from adult websites and sold them to seniors as medical devices, charging Medicare $284 apiece.

“Device fraud has become an increasingly common way for criminals bilk the taxpayers. Durable medical equipment (DME) is widely perceived as a “high risk” area for fraud, according to a spokesman for the HHS Office of the Inspector General.  And a report released last month by CMS found the error and improper payment rate for DME was above 60 percent, whereas no other area even entered double digits.”

Just another way the public sector devours the tax dollars of the productive private sector?

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