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Ignoring the real problem

I don't know how big a story it was outside New York, but we heard a lot this week about New York's Medicaid program providing Viagra for sex offenders. Comptroller Alan Hevesi put a stop to it, and he deserves credit for that, I suppose.

Still, I have to join with Hillary Clinton in asking why ED drugs are covered my Medicaid for anybody. This whole "Viagra for sex offenders" story is but one symptom of a state entitlement program that is careening out of control. More than 1 in 5 New Yorkers currently receives Medicaid benefits in some form. That's probably why the state spends more every year on Medicaid than education, law enforcement, environmental protection, transportation and all social services. Worse, Medicaid spending is increasing at twice the rate of other state spending.

This is unsustainable. And as satisfying as it may be to deny the little blue pill to convicted sex offenders, it leaves the real problem unaddressed.


I wonder about that ALL THE TIME. I have a medication that costs $25.62 a month, and my insurance covers $1.20. And yet, for people on Medicaid, Viagra can be free.

I'm not complaining that Medicaid gives free drugs, but can we at least keep it to drugs that fix *health* issues? No one dies without sex, no matter how depressing it gets.

Agreed. As soon as we decide that sex is a necessary component of public health, we might as well start paying for hookers. Of course I'd better not give Albany any ideas.

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