Congress Aims to Save $44M By Cutting Medicare Penis Pumps

by Winnie McCroy

EDGE Editor

Wednesday December 3, 2014

The Republicans in Congress have officially had enough of funding penis pumps for men who can't get erections. The devices are covered by Medicare to the tune of $44 million per year -- money they say would be better spent on 'pumping up' savings for disabled Americans' education, housing and transportation.

The Daily Mail reports that as part of their new initiative aimed at helping disabled Americans save tax-free for education, housing and transportation costs, a House bill unveiled on Tuesday eliminates Medicare funding for these "vacuum erection systems."

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act will allow states to set up and manage specialized savings accounts for Americans with disabilities, opening the door for them to receive tax breaks and access to Medicare entitlements currently out of their reach.

House Republicans propose to pay for it with a series of budget "offsets" including the congressional erection maneuver, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will save the government nearly a half-million dollars over ten years.

What does this mean for needy men who can't get a boner? A House Ways and Means report promises that the provision would only prohibit penis pumps "until such a time that Medicare covers erectile dysfunction drugs under Medicare Part D.

When the Part D program was created in 2003, it established a statutory prohibition on erectile dysfunction drugs. CBO estimates that this provision will reduce spending by $444 million.

Florida Republican Rep. Ander Crenshaw, who first proposed the law, predicted it would help "millions of Americans."

Congress seems united on the measure, with more co-sponsors of both parties in both chambers of Congress than any other pending legislation. A whopping 380 House members support it, along with 74 senators.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.