Tuesday, March 15. 2011
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spent $3.1 million during 2007 and 2008 on reimbursements on Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs for senior citizens, according to government investigators, despite the fact that the agency banned coverage for those medications in 2005.
More than $3 million was spent on Viagra reimbursements during that period, while the rest went toward similar drugs such as Cialis and Levitra. Medicare administrators said the payments were the result of a software error and said they would attempt to recover payments from private insurance companies.
In a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Office of the Inspector General, the authors wrote that Medicare, "should not have covered these drugs". According to George Reeb, the acting deputy inspector general for audit services, Medicare also covered an undetermined amount for erectile dysfunction drugs in 2009 and 2010.
CMS said it would update its computer databases with codes for the prohibited medications to help prevent a similar error.
According to the American Medical Association, the Bush Administration cut Medicare funding for sexual dysfunction drugs to help pay for health and unemployment benefits and end the, "government subsidization of seniors' recreational sex."
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