U.S. Government Pays Way Too Much for Its Penis Pumps

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A penis pump sits on display at the Noose novelty shop in the Chelsea section of New York December 11, 2003. Virtually anyone with an email address is bombarded daily with messages touting penis pills, herbal supplements, and the latest rage, penis patches, all with the same inflated promise: "guaranteed to enlarge a man's sexual organ." Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Corbis

A few paragraphs into a Reuters report on how the government spends way too much money on penis pumps (to treat erectile dysfunction) comes this surreal quote from an inspector general's report: "Medicare currently pays suppliers more than twice as much for VES as the Department of Veterans Affairs and consumers over the Internet pay for these types of devices." That total: $172.4 million, from 2006 to 2011, for about 474,000 Medicare claims, not including VA. Talk about engorged spending! (Also, guys, they have deals on these things. Check the spam folder.)