My opinion: The reason why waste is so hard to define is because each individual has a different idea of waste. Since Medicare covers penis pumps, it may improve the sexual health of those suffering from erectile dysfunction, but it refrains from spending the money on people who are suffering even more from life-threatening illnesses. Not to mention that medicare is overpaying for the penis pumps, as consumers could buy it on their own for less. Ultimately, waste may be helpful to some people, but it doesn't not prioritize the money to those who need it more. In this case, I think it's safe to call this waste. The only issue is, can the money legally be transferred for other uses? Feel free to comment.
Penis pumps cost U.S. government millions, watchdog cries waste
The report by the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services said Medicare, the government health insurance system for seniors, paid nearly 474,000 claims for vacuum erection systems, or VES, totaling about $172.4 million from 2006 to 2011. Yearly claims for the devices nearly doubled from $20.6 million in 2006 to $38.6 million in 2011.
According to the Mayo Clinic, penis pumps are one of a few treatment options for erectile dysfunction.
Government waste is a major issue in budget talks in the U.S. capital as lawmakers try to reach agreement on a $1 trillion spending bill.