The U.S. Overspent Millions on Penis Pumps

Government spent $172 million on the erectile dysfunction tool over six years

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The U.S. government paid around $86 million too much for penis pumps, according to a government watchdog.

The federal Medicare program covered nearly 474,000 claims between 2006 and 2011 for the vacuum erection systems, a treatment option for erectile dysfunction, Reuters reports.

The bill: $172 million, according to the report from the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Service. Had the government paid the price regular customers pay for penis pumps, it could have saved $14.4 million a year — or a total of $86.4 million over six years.

Conservaties pilloried the report, saying the government shouldn’t be in the business of subsidizing erectile dysfunction tools. “To those seniors who really do want one,” Ben Domenici of think tank the Heartland Institute told Reuters, “just buy it yourself – you don’t need to send the bill to your fellow Americans.”

Penis pumps are just the latest example of wasteful spending in Congress, even as lawmakers grapple over a $1 trillion budget.