Dailies | ‘Daily Show’ Exposes $172 Million in Federal Penis Pump Spending (Video)

'Daily Show' Exposes $172 Million in Federal Penis Pump Spending (Video)

Critics of Obamacare don't want women's contraceptives covered — but hey, hands off the penis pumps

“Daily Show” correspondent Samantha Bee has uncovered a small double standard: While Obamacare critics object to its covering contraception for women, no lawmakers have attacked $172 million in Medicare spending on penis pumps.

Penis pumps, which are vacuum tubes that help men attain erections, cost the government $360 each, according to Ilyse Hogue, president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. Medicare spent $172 million on penis pump claims from 2006 to 2011, NBC News reported.

Also read: Jon Stewart Shreds Paul Ryan's Fake School Lunch Story (Video)

Bee was stunned to learn of the costs.

“So for less than a dollar a day, a man can restore the glory of his erection?” she said on “The Daily Show” Wednesday. “That's amazing!”

She also said Hogue's criticism of the situation seems misplaced.

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“She just didn't understand that women's selfish desire for sexual health and gynecological exams pales in comparison to men's need to deal with erectile disfunction,” Bee said.

“These are hardworking American penises,” she added. “Should we really be abandoning them at the end of their careers?”

Bee and Hogue also speculated about why lawmakers haven't declared war on penis pump spending.

“Statistics show that probably some members of our Congress have a vested interested in having penis pumps covered,” Hogue gently suggested.

Watch the video:

  • Heather

    I'm all for underwriting penis pumps for those who need them but can't afford them. (Laugh all you want, it's a very real problem for those who need them.) I'm also for underwriting contraceptives for those who need them but can't afford them. However, those who can afford penis pumps and contraceptives should pay for them out of their own pockets.

    • Ashley Ziemba

      And should not be ordered to do so if they don't want to.

    • signalfire1

      It's not a VERY REAL PROBLEM. It's ego. Hey, if your dick doesn't work anymore, think about changing your diet so you're not a diabetic, or try staying out of the army where roadside bombs are only one of the hazards awaiting your nether parts. How about paying for pumps for men under 45 with wives who want to get pregnant? Anyone else, feel free to remember the good times, but they're over.

      • Great Primate

        Let me summarize your argument: Impotence is caused by diet and roadside bombs. Fixing your penis is ego. The government should provide penis pumps for men 45 and below (if they eat well and not in the military). The good times are over.

        Thank you for that.

        • con

          Lol, what an idiot!

    • Daniel

      You've got to be kidding me. Are you really suggesting erectile disfucntion is a problem on the scale of diabetes? Or legitimate health issues? How much crack did you smoke this morning, a lot or a lot..

      • Justbowlinm8

        what about the womenz??!?!?!!!

        • Daniel

          What about them?

        • Liz Harrington

          how about more responsible women simple keep track of their cycles? JS!

          • Audrey

            I know at least 3 women who have had unintended pregnancy because they were relying on the ‘rhythm method'. Keeping track of your cycle is useless, a woman can get pregnant at any time.

      • Nelson

        Contraceptives is on the same scale of diabetes??

        I had no idea.

        • Arun Parajuli

          Actually, family sizes have an enormous impact on poverty levels…more money for education, etc…so I guess you could say that, yes, contraceptives are on the same scale as diabetes.

          • Daniel

            And I would fully agree, they are a very very serious thing. And FYI Nelson, seeing as how you probably have never come in contact with a woman aside from internet stalking, the pill does far more than prevent pregnancies. They have the ability to help regulate a woman's body and hormones. Just because you're not a woman and it doesn't directly affect you does not mean that the issues simply disappears.

          • facepalm

            Just have the guy use a condom IMO.

            Women who take birth control pills increase their risk of cervical and breast cancers, and possibly liver cancer as well.
            All birth control pills increase your risk of blood clots and subsequent stroke. And if your prescription contains the synthetic hormone desogestrel, your risk of fatal blood clots nearly doubles!
            Women who take birth control pills have lower bone mineral density (BMD) than women who have never used oral contraceptives.
            A recent study found that oral contraceptive use impairs muscle gains from resistance exercise training in women.
            The Pill may interfere with a protein that keeps testosterone unavailable, leading to long-term sexual dysfunction including decreased desire and arousal.
            Long-term use of birth control pills may increase plaque artery buildups in your body that may raise your risk of heart disease.

          • Nelson

            Uggh…a virgin joke? Typical internet garbage.
            I'll give you an E for effort. Apply yourself and stop trying to sound self-righteous.

          • TBilly

            The opposite of poverty is not wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice.

          • Nelson

            Well…you changed my mind.

      • Howard

        I am guessing you have never had to deal with ED issues, trust me for those dealing with it the issue is just as important as any other (non leathal) medical condition

        • Daniel

          No, considering I have a healthy diet and healthy living habits I don't have to worry about getting an erection. Sorry ol willy can't make his final stand anymore..

          • Dejahthoris

            Healthy people with healthy diets and lifestyles get type 1 diabetes.

          • Daniel

            Yes I know, my biological father has it.

          • Galen

            Right, so by that logic, people with Type 2 diabetes should just have healthy diets and living habits like you, sorry the ol’ pancreas can't pump out that insulin anymore.

          • Daniel

            Actually, I have hypoglycemia, so I kinda have to have a good diet..thanks for the concern Galen

        • Mozzarella

          Yes but why should they be paid for, and not the medical health of women? Are your penises more important than a woman's health? That's the real issue here. If a woman has to pay for her own birth control then a man has to pay for his own penis pumps.

    • KC

      Though I'm covered for my birth control pills ($80), medication costs way more in the US, so I doubt most women would be able to pay for them.

    • Tommy Towne Piercing

      contraceptives should be absolutely free to everyone regardless of age through free healthcare. WWJD

  • asdf

    no penis pump – no contraception ..

    • Jason Peffley

      The government ends up paying for the babies which cost much more in the long run.

      • Hugh G. Rection

        Exactly, which is why they shouldn't be paying for penis pumps. It's hard to plant a seed without tilling the soil. With your penis. (I'm talking about erections and ejaculation.)

  • Prof. Peabody

    They should just use a vacuum cleaner instead like the people of Alabama and save everyone a fortune in taxes.

    • Leaner

      As penis pumps or contraceptives?

      • gerald

        lol

      • boobysuckle

        both

      • FunkmasterAstronaut

        As abortionists.

  • Douglas Sharp

    Congress is impotent. Imagine that.

    • ShaneJax

      Unfortunately Congress is quite potent in most of the wrong areas.

  • Not really american

    We absolutely need to cover contraception for those who cannot afford it. The right to be child-free should be universal, not just for the rich (who are the ones who can actually support a child.)

    • GovtOutOfMyBiz

      Um… The right to be child free exists it's called abstinence. It's like everyone in this conversation forgets that having sex is a choice. Where is the responsibility there, and why is that personal responsibility being offloaded to government?

      • Bob Dole

        You're a fucking idiot.

        • Leaner

          While you're probably right, this doesn't really contribute to the discussion. Maybe tell him why sex isn't just a choice, on par with whether to buy butter or margarine. It's an innate human desire whose absence can seriously affect psychological and physiological aspects of a person's life (citation needed).

          • AJ

            Playing devil's advocate, the truth of the matter is that having children is a choice – that choice is whether to have sex or not. I don't think penis pumps should be supplied by the state, but I'm not convinced contraception should be either.

            It's simple math. If you can't afford the taxi ride home, you can't afford to go out drinking for the night. If you can't afford contraception, you can't afford the consequences of a pregnancy.

            Stop encouraging the construction of a Nanny State… it's already bad enough.

          • boobysuckle

            preists don't have sex (unless it's with little boys) and they don't suffer health conditions from it, or psychological distress.

      • Kibashi Siyoto

        Having sex is considered healthy activity, certain pheromones are passed between males and females that act a mental stabilizers.

        • boobysuckle

          you can still pull out and not ejaculate in her vagina and still get the benefits.

      • http://www.lazygamer.net/ Matt Buckley

        Take a quick look at Texas to see the effectiveness of abstinence education in the place of contraception.

        Hint: Texas has the worst teen birth rate in the entire country.

      • tifftom

        So if you cant afford kids you shouldnt have sex? Do you know how stupid you sound? Thats never gonna happen.

    • boobysuckle

      it's called pulling it out.

    • FunkmasterAstronaut

      Then why don't we just give away condoms for free at federally funded parenting centers. Oh ya I forgot we already do.

  • George

    Penis pumps are designed to HELP a failing mechanism function properly. Contraceptives are designed to STOP a properly functioning mechanism from working properly.

    See the difference?

    • http://www.lazygamer.net/ Matt Buckley

      Wonderful rhetoric, though factually incorrect. Oral contraception helps reduce the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer, and even osteoporosis. Those are just a few of many examples of contraceptives helping failing mechanisms to function properly.

      But let's be real: money is the important thing here, right? In that case, I'd hold empirical evidence in higher esteem than overarching themes. That would be: the states that make contraception the most difficult to reach are the states with the highest teen birth rates in the country. — ie. these are the states that are costing the country the most $$$.

      So no, it's not at all as simple as you put it.

      • FunkmasterAstronaut

        Care to back that up with sources? Because the CDC data I read said that birth control may in fact be one of the contributing factors to the cancers you just claimed they help prevent, along with breast cancer, due to the hormonal imbalances they can incur over a lifetime. I have read journals that say birth control should only be used sparingly or only when necessary which then are covered by insurance and medicaid.

    • Some guy

      Most people using penis pumps arent using them so they can try and get someone pregnant. Both are used to make it possible to have recreational sex.

      • KC

        So, unless you're a Duggar, you have recreational sex too. Problem is, “some guys” don't wind up pregnant, and deal with the ramifications of that.

      • FunkmasterAstronaut

        Recreational sex is known to have a range of both mental and physical health benefits. On the other hand, eating a pill that gravely imbalances your hormones in order to trick your body into not having a period is not healthy for prolonged periods of time and has been known to increase the risk in female cancers.

  • Nillerz

    I think it's more likely they didn't *know* about them. I oppose penis pump spending.

  • bazinga

    You are all missing the bigger issue here. The government is spending $172 million on stuff that doesn't work, dammit!

  • KC

    To me, contraception and penis pumps are apples and…bananas. Women need contraception for a myriad of reasons (and this will often prevent the abortions that congress doesn't want women having). Men with erectile dysfunction issues can seek out a number of resources to help solve their problem. It's crazy to me that those millions can be spent on helping generally older men get erections, while women can't have anything to help them prevent having a child when they choose not to have one. Are cock rings covered as well?

  • honestlydude

    lol i don't understand what the problem is… contraceptives don't just “keep the baby away” and are vital to a women's health. is ED a real problem? yes but not to the degree as most people think it is, because this is all just part of the marketing scheme for pharma to tell us that aging is a disease. kinda like how “low t” is a huge problem yet your risk for a heart attack and stroke nearly triple when you take medication for it, etc. yes there are men who suffer from ED and the root for it is heart complications (know the rule, can't walk a flight a stairs, don't have sex) but not including contraceptives and hormonal balancing for women is hypocritical and yes their medical and biological needs trump a guy getting a hard on.

    so instead of saying no penis pumps (i thought they were considered to be dangerous?) let's just include everything… and yes this whole decision is based on male ego and any real doctor who advocate for both treatments to be included.

  • Rubix

    I dont understand why this is a bad thing. Are we saying that just because it doesn't have the word cancer associated with it, erectile dysfunction is not worth treating? Why is treating erectile dysfunction any worse than treating allergies?

    If birth control is being used for menstrual pain – it should absolutely be paid for.

    However, if you take the view that birth control is used for prevention of a period (a valid reason), unless you count a period as a disease i can see the argument that you are neither curing, treating or preventing a disease and is hence not appropriate to be paid for using health insurance.

    To be clear: I am fine with paying for birth control as long as we see it as a poliy issue (we want to reduce unwanted birth)

  • UKgal

    I really have no problem with Medicare paying for penis pumps. Most people would be shocked to see the amount insurers reimburse pharmacies for prescription ED treatments like Cialis and Viagra. That doesn't even take into account the side effects (and secondary medical expenses) that can result from using these medications. It seems much more financially responsible to make a one-time payment for a single device instead. You could argue that ED isn't a “real” health issue, but Medicare covers treatment for all kinds of non-life threatening conditions that impact your general well-being. This is an issue that can affect your ability to build relationships or have a family, and definitely affects self-esteem. So, unless Medicare is remodeled to only pay for “legitimate” or “life-threatening” illnesses, we can't just arbitrarily pick and choose which ones seem reasonable to us. What is laughable to one person may be a very serious issue to another.
    As for comparing penis pumps to birth control, this really is apples to oranges. Still, from a financial viewpoint, birth control is generally inexpensive and definitely cheaper than long-term expenses for a child. You can simply say those who can't afford children shouldn't have sex, but realistically, that is just not going to happen. If taxpayers don't want to pick up the slack for other people's children, we should focus on better sex education and easier access to contraception. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
    Just my 2 cents!

  • Alec Ferretti

    I think they're missing the main problem republicans have: for whatever bizarre reason, they believe that birth control is a sin. Penis pumps aren't a contraceptive; they're actually the opposite. They would increase the likelihood of conception. It's only a double standard if republicans (or anybody) want to withhold a device from women that would enhance arousal.

  • FunkmasterAstronaut

    I don't care what anyone says birth control is not good for you and we shouldn't be encouraging women to use it for prolonged periods of time. The CDC has countless data that supports this which is why the Federal government will NEVER pay for something that is known to have negative affects. Birth control should only be used when needed, like after a pregnancy to rebalance hormones. Eating birth control for years and years at a time heightens the risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer and ovarian cancer.

    If you want free federally funded contraceptives then go to planned parenthood and get some condoms. If you want to use BC as contraception despite the known health ramifications then pay for it yourself.

    Like erectile dysfunction there is a disease called “vaginal dryness” which doesn't allow the sexual reproductive organs to operate naturally. There is an FDA approved pill / treatment out there that fixes this, and will you look at that, it's covered under insurance!! Well I'll be…

  • Really

    What critics of Obamacare support this and are fighting for it? The government is not responsible for providing healthcare or penis pumps.

  • Pg America

    Insurance company's are one of the biggest scam's of all time. If it was fair, and did what it was supposed to do it would be ok. Take for example car ins. Say I buy a car, and put liability ins only. And I pay month after month for a few years. Maybe in that time I may have been a little late with the pmt. But never lost ins. Or maybe I got a minor speeding or seat belt ticket nothing major. And say after a few years I sell that car. Why does the ins company not refund my payments? Since they had no pay out, and they no longer carry liability claim? So what happens to the money I was REQUIRED to pay? They just pocket it? Now they want to force people to buy into odomesticterrorista care. Don't get me wrong, We need to do something about healthcare. But scam to increase profit for ins company's? Like the oil company's when the fuel prices more than doubled. Why not everyone pay into Medicaid or call it National Health Plan. Utilize Military Doctors and Hospitals, Along beside Civilian Doctors and Hospitals. Pay them just like they were in the military. And UNITE all the healthcare and allow doctors to determine patient care for the good of the patient and not for the good of the ins company's wallet. Then some of the defense healthcare funds can combine with the national healthcare tax collected. Then percentage out amount of tax collected for goods and services. businesses pay in for employees, and employees pay a medicaid or national health tax kinda like we do now with medicaid and FICA. Cost would be considerable lower and affordable. And then everyone should get the exact same healthcare. And better healthcare, cause we eliminated the most costly part the greedy middle man.

  • Kat Stag

    Why is this a male verse female issue. Both of these issues benefit both male and female. Men, in general, have an equal desire not to have children with the majority of their lifetime partners. Ladies lets be honest, its not just men's egos that ED affects…our desire doesn't just disappear when our partners wanker stops working. Forget about saving the Ta-ta's, I already lost one its not that bad, lets save the willes!! I'll need those forever!

  • Steve

    I come from a tiny island in the far east.
    For one, penis pumps only cost USD$10 here. I really don't know how it ends up being US$360 in the US…. Must be all the pumping efforts to inflate the wallet apart from the penis.
    Two, NOBODY gets any free healthcare here, so our way to healthcare is eating healthily and exercising a lot and drink lots of water and not depend on the government.
    Three, we shun hospitals here as they are over inflated to pay for the doctors’ golf memberships, luxury cars and expensive houses. We tend to go to Traditional Chinese Medicine halls where they use acupuncture and herbs to heal the body and it is for free, provided for by the temples.
    Perhaps your mega rich churches would consider helping the poor in this way.

    But then that would go against some of your religious teachings I guess.

  • Mozzarella

    No but the real issue is that Congress thinks a man's penis is more important than a woman's health. I guess that says a lot about the USA, land of the impotent misogynists.

  • Pat

    Penis pump and abortion (or pregnancy control pills as suggested) have nothing in common. A penis pump is used to correct a medical anomaly. Pregnancy control is used to prevent unwanted pregnancies not a medical condition. The pill is used for medical things like hormone replacement and should be covered, but like a condom, the pill should not have to be paid for by those who say control yourself and procreate with the one you love, not with any old person who comes along.

    Really folks, can't you correlate common information?

    Ps. I don't mind having my taxes pay for pregnancy control pills, but I do mind having to pay for killing babies as a form of pregnancy control.

  • rfsb

    Admittedly, I only got an A- in logic, or maybe it was a B+, but does no one see that there is no equivalency between treatment for erectile dysfunction and birth control, other that that both involve the GU system? Any attempt to make A like B is politics, not logic, and certainly not medicine.

  • Cathy CC.

    I want a pussy pump.