ObamaCare Might Fund Viagra for Sex Offenders

Most of the attack ads I’ve seen this political season take something out of context. These ads, while technically correct, omit relevant context and thus lie by omission. However, a recent attack ad against Congressman Ed Perlmutter is technically incorrect, because it uses the word “can” rather than “might.”

A group called American Action Network ran the ad, which stated: “Apparently, convicted rapists can get Viagra paid for by the new health care bill… with my tax dollars… and Congressman Perlmutter voted for it.”

Adam Schrager of 9News explains:

The new health law treats sex offenders who are not incarcerated the same way the old law did. They can buy any health plan they choose. Some might cover drugs like Viagra, some might not. The new law doesn’t say anything about these types of drugs. As for the new health care law, the exchanges the government will be setting up as a low-cost alternative have not yet been set up, so no one knows what medications they will cover.

Schrager cites a document from FactCheck.org, an outfit run by the Annenberg Public Policy Center — a group that clearly favors the Democratic health bill despite the group’s self-proclaimed “nonpartisan” status.

The FactCheck.org document specifically attacks Nevada Republican Sharron Angle, who ran an ad against her opponent similar to the ad against Perlmutter. Yet FactCheck.org frankly admits:

There’s nothing in the legislation that supports, requires or even mentions such prescriptions. It also is true that the Congressional Research Service said that nothing in the health care law would mandate that health plans “limit the type of benefits that can be offered based on the plan beneficiary’s prior criminal convictions.” The new law will be just like the old: Convicts who are not in prison, including those convicted of sex offenses, will be able to buy any health plan they choose, some of which may cover drugs that treat erectile dysfunction. And former prisoners will be able to buy plans from the state-administered health exchanges with tax subsidies, if they qualify. The health exchanges aren’t set up yet, so it’s not clear whether Viagra (and similar drugs) will be one of the medications exchange plans cover.

In other words, the Democratic health bill may very well use tax funds to pay for Viagra for sex offenders — we simply don’t know yet. (For more on the report from the Congressional Research Service, see this news article from Fox.)

As Lynn Bartels reports, 9News yanked the ad against Perlmutter — apparently preferring to make money only off of more subtle forms of deceit.

But most people are missing the important issues here. Allow me to review them.

1. The fact that we don’t even know whether ObamaCare will fund Viagra for sex offenders points to a major, catastrophic problem with the bill: it is an open-ended, bureaucrat-empowering, arbitrary, and capricious political takeover of health care. We already see the capricious nature of the bill with the recent waivers granted to various politically-connected companies.

2. Politicized health care turns many issues into political footballs. What benefits will the government fund, and what benefits won’t it fund? Viagra for sex offenders? Viagra for anybody? Drug and alcohol recovery? Psychotherapy? Chiropractic care? Massage? Aroma therapy? Long before the passage of the Democratic health bill, special interests lined the halls of Congress and state capitols, lobbying to mandate their own favored benefits by force of law. ObamaCare will only make this problem much, much worse.

3. Over time, ObamaCare will increasingly drive (nominally) “private” health insurance off the market, so more and more people will be forced to buy their insurance through the political “exchange.”

4. The mere fact that any health insurance funds Viagra (for anybody) points to the political manipulation of health care over the past few decades. Because of the the distortions arising from the tax code, most Americans treat health insurance predominantly as pre-paid health care, not as real insurance. Thus, much of the optional, low-cost, routine, and expected care that would otherwise be paid out of pocket is instead paid through higher insurance premiums, which dramatically reduces the incentive to economize on such care.

So, while Colorado’s major media outlets obsess over a trivial detail — whether ObamaCare “can” or merely “might” subsidize Viagra for sex offenders — they are missing the bigger picture and the real problems with Perlmutter’s vote for the health bill.

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Comment

Tony October 29, 2010 at 2:28 PM
Ari,
Thanks for the common sense talk. The problem with Hyperbole is that it discredits the entire movement. Common-sense talk, getting back to the basics and what is rather than what might be is the way to address these problems.
It’s like I always say:
“If you liked the way they handled the Iraq war and the TARP and Stimulus funds… If you like the VA and want some more of that, and think that the response to Katrina was spot on… then I think it’s time to give them control of your health care as well.”

One thought on “ObamaCare Might Fund Viagra for Sex Offenders

  1. Tony

    Ari,
    Thanks for the common sense talk. The problem with Hyperbole is that it discredits the entire movement. Common-sense talk, getting back to the basics and what is rather than what might be is the way to address these problems.
    It’s like I always say:
    “If you liked the way they handled the Iraq war and the TARP and Stimulus funds… If you like the VA and want some more of that, and think that the response to Katrina was spot on… then I think it’s time to give them control of your health care as well.”

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