Medicare 'Pumps' Men Up For $188 Million

If you thought that Medicare was only about helping out the elderly in time of need and that it was there to deal with the hardships of life as one gets older then it's possible that you might expand your horizons a bit, especially in terms of what is considered "hardship." While we have all seen the commercials in recent years concerning Viagra and Cialis, they really don't compare to the $188 million spent via Medicare for more than a half million of "male vacuum erection systems", commonly termed "penis pumps."

No this is not a joke. Between 2000 and 2010 Medicare doled out nearly $200 million dollars for what is commonly known to be just a novelty. However, that is not how Medicare defines these products.

They claim that they are "durable medical equipment, as long as a physician prescribes the device as "medically necessary" for treatment of erectile dysfunction." This puts these devices in the same league as a bedpan, oxygen or a wheelchair. I suppose if a man is going to be down enough to use a wheelchair or bedpan then Medicare wants to make sure he is up in other areas of his life.

According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, annual spending on the pumps has gone up from $7.2 million in 2000 to more than $36 million last year.

It is still a tiny part of the $7.5 billion Medicare spends each year on durable medical equipment and outpatient supplies.

Even so, over the past four years, investigators have challenged more than $8 million in payments made for the devices, according to statements from federal prosecutors in several states and the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services.

So not only are we to presume that the men are growing here, but the program, like all government programs, are expanding and growing as well.

In the end this is how all government assistance usually works out. Representatives have the idea to help others who actually need help. The only issue they run into is that they don't have the money themselves to "help out," so they employee the use of taxation of people like you and me and confiscate our money for their "charity." Ultimately government does not have the authority to be charitable with our money. Individuals have the responsibility of charity and when they are charitable, they make much wiser decisions about what is a need and what is a novelty than government does.

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  • mryan1956

    On one hand, George Burns said "Sex at ninety is like shooting pool with a rope." On the other, if there is a way to keep the prostate of a younger man healthy [delaying enlargement and cancer] who are these armchair quacks to say they're not medically necessary -- Or it keeps the marriage intact in a union with a younger wife. What you ought to be zeroing in on is that the cost of these devices will go up because ACA levies a tax on them. Remember ACA cuts funds for Medicare.

  • 13862520

    Who said government employees don't have a sense of humor. If we are going to continue to get screwed everyday, we may as well enjoy ourselves.

  • Gman

    Zeroing in on a particular device deflects the dialog that should occur.. Namely that government involvement in this or any other area generally distorts the market beyond recognition. All medical devices are far more expensive than they would be without medicare/medicaid. If you think things are insane now, just wait until the ACA comes to full force.

  • Jimmie L. Stutzman

    Funny how if you are over 35, people think you should be dead...sad how hypocritical people can be. Very sad comments about "old" people and what is "allowed" for us.


    When will the feds stop wasting our hard earned money? In this case, I very surethst this was approved at the very top, because most of Washington are a bunch flacid twits, and need help after chasing the boys.

  • Jim Serra

    If I'm paying for Paula Fluke's birth control, I want everyone else to pay for my pump when I might need one. LOL OMG (Obama Must Go) Jim

  • SamuraiWarrior

    Alright, I confess! I called an 800 number and was promised they'd contact my doctor, etc. I tried Androgel for several months, no benefit. I tried Viagra one time, received 6 pills, used 3 or 4 but just couldn't make the "moment" coincide with the pill. My pump arrived (I honestly don't know if my PCM approved it or not and I don't think these companies care either). Anyway, in the kit was an instruction booklet; a DVD, a thin latex pad the size of a DVD with a large hole in the middle to be placed over the penis and prevent pubic hair from being entangled in the device; a clear thick plastic tube; and a battery-operated pump that provides the suction (you can opt for the "manual" pump). As you can probably tell from the above description this device is not necessarily conducive to a romantic, candle-light dinner followed by love-making. OK. I tried it once ALONE. Didn't want my wife to know until I was sure it would work. I didn't feel anything but an erection did occur. The pump pulls blood into the penis thus producing an erection. Simple enough. The pump is still in the tidy kit next to my recliner unused since. Medicare allowed $505 for the pump, paid 80% and my secondary insurance paid the rest. Is it worth $505? I think not. It's not high-tech or all that sophisticated. I seriously doubt I'll continue to use the device. Medicare must impose stricter controls on Durable Medical Equipment. Those neat scooters you see on TV commercials throughout the day? They sell for about $6000--$9000 (and more) but should really only cost around $1,100! There's tons of fraud, waste and abuse in the system and hundreds of thousands of vendors who know how to maximize their profits at our expense. But nothing will change till the system goes broke.

    • deboern

      I am sure your wife loves you just the same without sex and to be honest most women over a certain age are just tired of sex anyway. It is way over-rated for us.

  • Robert

    I don't feel they should be covered under Medicare but I do disagree with the statement that it is a mere novelty. It is a medical device that serves a purpose and is helped a multitude of married man little more normal life. At one time it was just that a novelty device but then at the same time the ingredients and Viagra and Cialis were once used for cardiac patients.

    Look more closely at our penitentiary system especially California for the government is paying for sex change operations and the little blue pills. What possible purpose could this have been an all-male prison?

    The Social Progressives have set a course to totally destroy the moral base of America the more outlandish they can be more they like it. If they have their way same-sex marriage will be nothing but a small bump in the road compared to the other things they have in mind for us. At a psychiatric professional convention the future is already been laid out that since homosexuality has been more or less normalized it's only a matter of time before they will successfully integrate pedophiles into the same status.

    When will Americans stop this downward slide and eliminate the perverted values that are being shoved down our throats.

    • Daniel Coman

      Nice ending by the way.Heart patients are the last people in the world to need wood.Unless you want to kill them.It wasn't to long ago that people were up in arms about Tampax commercials.And now we have constant bombardment of how we can get more wood.Where has the morality gone? Sure we had free love in the 60's but dose that mean in our 60's we need to keep it up?And with tax payers money?Its been a long slow process to convert our society into socialism and now we all see that a free society has to take the lead to return from the destruction that was caused by our stupor in the past.Lets take the lead and get the muslim out of office and I don't mean by putting back in the bush era either,by voting for the lessor of two evils.Vote for the constitution and freedoms that we once had,Vote for the only person that has fought this system of corruption for the last 30yrs and return to the freedoms that we lost.Vote with your head and heart.I'm sure you know who it is so please this is your last chance to really make a difference. Allowing this to continue and throwing your vote away to the lesser of two evils is getting into bed with them,and then your going to need that viagra.

  • NYKIDS62


  • Raymond

    President Obama decided to do one of his public addresses against the backdrop of an American farm, but the ceremony couldn't get started because of all the flies buzzing around his head. Obama demanded to know why the flies wouldn't leave, so the farmer explained to him, "Well, those are called circle flies. They always circle around the back end of horses." Obama angrily replied, "Hey, are you saying that I'm a horse's behind?" The farmer answered, "No Sir, Mister President. I would never call someone a horse's behind. It's hard to fool them flies though."

    • Rick

      Those flies had sense Raymond. What years did you serve in the Marine Corps. Semper Fi

    • Raymond

      USMC 1972 - 1976

    • exshuttleguy

      Thank you for your service and also for all your great jokes and comments.

    • 4USA2

      Raymond.... good one! Thank you for serving our country.

  • MsTiBlue

    Patients will be charged taxes with the new tax laws 'medical equipment'

  • noelle2011

    Its time to STOP this program!

    • hiway280z

      We buy all the viagra for those in Washington. Like they couldn't buy their own. One of their little perks.

  • Omega2

    The pumps really work and are not DANGEROUS to your health like VIAGRA
    is. Takes the worry out of keeping your partner satisfied!!!

    • Carl in SC

      While the pumps may work I don't think they are devices Medicare does not need to pay for. In my late 60s I've purchased natural herbal pills to aid in prostate problems and erectile disfunction. I didn't go to Medicare to pay for these pills. I guess as long as some people can satisfy their sexual desires with Medicare (Taxpayers) paying for it they seem not to care if Medicare goes broke. They're not far from it. I guess I forgot that "Obama has a stash of cash".