Monday, May 23, 2005

There seems to be a bit of buzz over the race to halt Medicaid coverage of Viagra for sex offenders in New York. I guess I'm not thinking clearly due to the lack of sleep, but if the sex offender in question has squared up with the house and done their time, are they not entitled to the same medical benefits as others? I understand (or at least I've heard) about the high rate of recidivism with sex offenders, but taking back coverage like this extends punishment beyond what was prescribed by the court and assumes a perpetual state of guilt on the person who has paid for their crime. If a person did their time and obtained the medicine for legitimate purposes, why go on punishing them?

The reason for holding back Medicaid in this instance may have similar logic to the law that prohibits felons convicted of violent crimes from obtaining fire arms (a punishment that is extended beyond imprisonment and prescribed by law), but in that case you're restricting access to something in an absolute sense related to the crime you committed. In this instance you're only limiting public funding of prescription medicine -- the medicine can still be obtained and used, but you're just not using tax payer dollars to pay for it (using tax payer dollars to pay for erectile dysfunction products at all being a totally different discussion).

I guess to put it another way -- if a person convicted of larceny has done their time and then contracts a disease that severely affects their hands, should the government withhold Medicaid to treat the very hands that caused injury to another? Where does the line get drawn?


Minh-Duc said...

The issue is viagra is not neccessary for one health. If a person penis is infected, by all mean treat him. But no viagra.

Michael said...

I would agree that Viagra is not necessary for one to be alive, but some doctors would argue that being able to have a healthy sex life contributes to the overall good health of a person.

In any event, if Viagra isn't necessary for one's health, then the argument could be made that Medicaid should not be covering Viagra at all.