GOP Senator: Health Care Law Will Permit Sex Offenders to Get Viagra

Published April 06, 2010

| FoxNews.com

Sen. Tom Coburn drew ridicule last month for trying in vain to prohibit sex offenders from getting Viagra prescriptions under the new health care law.

But Coburn is now having the last laugh after the Congressional Research Service confirmed his assertions that sex offenders not in prison could get Viagra and other drugs treating erectile dysfunction under health plans subsidized by taxpayer dollars.

In a memo to the Oklahoma Republican, who is one of two doctors in the chamber, and provided to FoxNews.com, the CRS said there are no provisions in the new health care law "which would require health plans to limit the type of benefits that can be offered based on the plan beneficiary's prior criminal convictions."

"Additionally, there do not appear to be any provisions that would specifically restrict qualified health plans' coverage of drugs prescribed to treat ED," the memo read.

"Therefore, a convicted rapist, child molester, or other sex offender who is not incarcerated would not appear to be excluded from enrolling in a qualified health plan through an American Health Benefit Exchange in their state solely because of that conviction," the memo added.

Coburn offered an amendment blocking this to the companion bill that reshaped parts of the health care law. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., dismissed it as a "gotcha amendment" designed to be difficult for Democrats to oppose. But the amendment failed 57-42.

The CRS is also seeking information from the Department of Health and Human Servicers congressional liaison office per Coburn's request on whether there have been known cases in which federal health programs such as Medicaid provided sex offenders coverage for drugs to treat erectile dysfunction.

But the CRS sent Coburn news articles that describe cases in which sex offenders did receive those drugs through state Medicaid programs.

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