OpinionMeister

Monday, May 23, 2005

What the Hell Were They Thinking?

The New York Sun reports on (hopefully) unintended consequences of one bit of federal largesse. Link.
Rapists and other offenders convicted of the most serious sex crimes have been able, for the past several years, to get the erection-enhancement wonder drug Viagra for free through Medicaid, the government-financed health-insurance program for the poor.

According to the state comptroller, Alan Hevesi, who announced the finding yesterday, 198 Level 3 sex offenders in the state, who have been convicted of such crimes as child molestation and rape, had Viagra prescriptions subsidized by the state between January 2000 and March 2005.

A federal directive seven years ago that Medicaid pay for Viagra prescriptions for eligible male adults did not carve out an exclusion for convicted sexual offenders.

The comptroller's tally of 198 does not count lower-level sex offenders or the less-noted erectile-dysfunction drugs Levitra and Cialis, which have become popular Viagra alternatives and are also covered by Medicaid.

Talk about the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Federal, state and local governments are spending probably billions to fight sexual criminals. Then they go and spend millions to make it easier for convicted sexual criminals to continue their criminal behavior. How difficult can it be to put an exemption into the Medicaid funding for Viagra, Levitra and Cialis to not pay for these drugs if the patient is a convicted sex offender?

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