Andy Kopsa

Off The Record: On Religion, Politics & Equality

R.I.P. Viagra Amendment. But now that you mention it….

R.I.P. Viagra Amendment


Senator Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, finally broke through the little blue ceiling  with this proposed amendment – restricting federal funding of Viagra – to the Health Care Bill:

The amendment states:

“…Reduces health care costs by preventing fraudulent payments for prescription drugs, prohibits coverage of erectile dysfunction drugsto child molesters and rapists.”

Hear, hear.  No argument from me.  But, this amendment died last night by a vote of 57 to 42.  This from the New York Times:

  • Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and chairman of the Finance Committee, said, “The amendment offered by the senator from Oklahoma makes a mockery of this Senate.” He added, “It’s a crass political stunt aimed at making 30-second commercials, not public policy.”

What a cynical Senator Baucus.  I am sure obstructionism and political haymaking was the furthest thing from Senator Coburn’s mind.   Whatever his reason, now that Coburn has opened the door, let’s talk about the federal funding of Viagra.

I wonder who else should be barred access from Viagra? Perhaps cheating husbands?  Although not on par with the criminals that prey on women and children, cheating husbands can lead to pain and suffering of wives and kids.

Senator Coburn has some experience in this arena.  He served as the C-Street House (Washington refuge of The Family) counselor to Senator John Ensign during his marital dust up last year.  Coburn went one better and  arbitrated the payoff to Ensign’s mistress and family with Ensign’s parents’ money.  Governor Mark Sanford, another noted Republican philanderer, also sought shelter and counsel at the C-Street House.  I say Sanford, Ensign and in a show of bipartisanship Eric Massa should be put on a “Do Not Prescribe” list.

But lawmakers repeated indiscretions are really not what I am driving at – it’s just nice to point out as often as possible.   As for the Government paying for Viagra, well, that’s where a serious discussion can be had.

There is a contingency of the populous and congress that believe abortion, contraception and the morning after pill are not women’s health care. That the morning after pill, specifically, allows for reckless sex having by the ladies.

Here’s an assumption on my part:  women’s reproductive health care naysayers don’t hold the same opinion about men’s reproductive health care.

Here is support for my assumption.  TRICARE is the Government run health care insurance provider for our men and women in the military.

Regarding women’s health care, abortions are covered when the mother’s life is at risk and when certified by an attending physician. TRICARE does not provide for these women’s health care services:

  • Services and supplies related to non covered abortion
  • Counseling, referral, prep and follow-up for non covered abortion
  • Abortions for fetal abnormality or for psychological reasons

Regarding men’s health care, TRICARE  covers the following:

  • External vacuum appliance
  • Penile implants and testicular prostheses
  • Hormone injections
  • PDE5 inhibitors (i.e., Cialis, Levitra, Viagra)
  • These are covered under medical care for erectile dysfunction due to organic, psychological or psychiatric causes.

Health care is health care is health care.  Abortion, contraception, erectile dysfunction fall into the same category of reproductive health.  I for one am glad Senator Coburn brought this ridiculous amendment to the floor. Let the discussions begin.

Sources:

One comment on “R.I.P. Viagra Amendment. But now that you mention it….

  1. kitty
    March 25, 2010

    I give you an AMEN!

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