Sex, Drugs, And Congress

The Early Show, Medical Correspondent Emily Senay, Viagra pills
CBS/The Early Show
Last week, the House of Representatives voted to bar Medicaid and Medicare from paying for Viagra and similar medicines. Considering that often Congress itself is quite impotent, I was surprised that they didn't have more empathy for those who suffered from this problem. Their reasoning was that the American people should not pay for "lifestyle drugs." We pay for the lavish lifestyles of oil magnates and other super-rich people who get tax breaks. Isn't that more offensive to you than paying to help people who have a medical condition?

Considering everything else going on in the world, whether the government should or shouldn't pay for these drugs is not a top priority for me. On the other hand, the idea of federal programs paying for these prescriptions doesn't bother me, especially when I think about all the ridiculous things that we taxpayers pay for. Billions of dollars are spent on wasteful "pork" projects every year. Some examples over the recent past include authorizing $102 million to study screwworms and a mere $50 million for an indoor rainforest in Iowa. NASCAR gets $92 million in federal economic incentives, while poor Tiger Woods only gets $100,000 in federal grant money for his foundation. In this context, paying for these drugs doesn't seem all that frivolous to me.