Friday, November 30, 2007

When spending other people's money, who cares about price?

Never mind our huge entitlement problem that we are mortgaging our children's future on items like erectile pumps, The NY Times reports that Medicare is also paying way too much:

...last year Medicare spent more than $21 million on pumps to help older and disabled men attain erections, paying about $450 for the same device that is available online for as little as $108. Even for a simple walking cane, which can be purchased online for about $11, the government pays $20, according to government data.

The basic problem, which we have noted before (In praise of irrational politicians), is that old people vote in much greater numbers than young people. This makes political reform very difficult.

...when officials and politicians have tried to cut these costs, they have often encountered a powerful foe: the companies that sell these devices, who ask their elderly customers to serve, in effect, as unpaid lobbyists, calling and writing to their representatives in Congress, protesting at rallies, and even participating in political attacks against individual lawmakers who take on the issue.

“These industries rely on a basic threat: If you mess with us, we can turn the seniors against you,” said former Senator Alan K. Simpson, Republican from Wyoming.

1 comment:

  1. So the US government overpays for Swedish penis pumps. That's probably the tip of the iceberg. Imagine how bad the tax payer is getting fleeced on sex change surgeries and breast augmentations.

    We are being extorted by the old folks lobby and no politician has the spine to the octogenarians. Ridiculous.