Friday, June 10, 2005

Deal: The poor are bankrupting Medicaid with their frivolous erections!

From Good Intentions:

A Georgia congressman said Thursday he is drafting legislation to exclude Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs from Medicare and Medicaid and might call congressional hearings on the subject.
Rep. Nathan Deal, the Republican chairman of a health subcommittee that is looking at how to save money in the Medicaid program, said taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for lifestyle drugs that are not vital for health reasons.
"Taxpayers are willing to pay for somebody's heart medication, but they are not going to buy their beer or their Viagra," Deal said in an interview.
Gov. Sonny Perdue recently wrote to the state's congressional delegation, urging lawmakers to remove the association between impotence drugs and Medicaid - the state-federal program that provides care to 1.5 million poor Georgians. . . .
"Once you decide something is medically necessary, you have to cover it," Karr said, adding that in fiscal 2005 states spent $38 million of the collective $295 billion Medicaid dollars on erectile dysfunction drugs.

In other words, erectile dysfunction drugs constitute about .013% of Medicaid expenditures. Republicans consider this a problem.

Meanwhile, from Frontline:

A November 2004 New York Times article cites a study in Georgia that found 10,000 children of Wal-Mart employees were in the state's healthcare program at a cost to taxpayers of $10 million a year. The same article describes a hospital in North Carolina that found that 31 percent of its 1,900 patients were Wal-Mart employees on Medicaid, and an additional 16 percent were Wal-Mart employees with no insurance at all. And in California, a study released in August 2004 by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley determined that the healthcare expenses of uninsured Wal-Mart employees were costing the already economically-strapped state $32 million a year in taxpayer funds.

In other words, Wal-Mart costs two states, California and Georgia, more in healthcare expenditures than erectile dysfunction drugs cost the entire nation. Republicans do not consider this a problem.

The upshot? Republicans believe that if Medicaid is to help anyone fuck anybody, it should help the rich fuckers at Wal-Mart fuck you. Poor fuckers can look for help elsehwere.