An open letter to my Congressional representatives:
Dear Members of Congress,
I would like to propose the No Taxpayer Funding for Viagra Act, which would be a companion bill to H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. The NTFV Act would follow in the footsteps of the NTFA Act by similarly removing tax breaks for the reprehensible purpose, sometimes misleadingly considered “health care,” of helping men get erections.
The No Taxpayer Funding for Viagra Act would prohibit federal funding of treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED), including the prescription medications Viagra, Cialis, and others of the same category, and also mechanical treatments such as penile implants, including both implants that simulate permanent erection and those that are modified by the user (“inflatable penis”). It would provide conscience protection for health care providers, both individuals and institutions, that decline to provide care for ED or to refer patients with ED to another provider to receive care.
Most importantly, it would eliminate certain tax benefits relating to Viagra and similar ED care by disallowing tax breaks for employers or employees who pay for health insurance plans including ED care. Individuals who then pay for ED care with their own funds would not be eligible to use pre-tax money from flexible spending accounts (FSAs) or to include the amount spent on ED care in health care deductions from their taxable income.
Of course, if a man needs ED care as a result of rape or incest, or the ED care is necessary, in a physician’s judgment, to preserve the life of the man, none of these restrictions would apply. The suggestion that it would be invasive and inappropriate for men to have to document the causes of their ED care to the Internal Revenue Service (by providing contemporaneous written documentation such as police and medical records) is wholly without merit. The provision for only allowing funding for ED care in the case of “forcible” rape has been amended to allow all instances of ED resulting from rape to be exempt from the restrictions of this bill.
It is also clear that individuals who anticipate that they may need ED care at some point in their lives could purchase a separate rider to ensure insurance coverage. I remain confident that such single-issue riders will be widely available and affordable, no inconvenience to the people or companies participating in these transactions, and will be purchased by every individual who could possibly need affordable ED care at some point in his life, especially if he chooses to engage in such behaviors that put him at increased risk for ED such as as having sex, drinking alcohol, or getting high blood pressure.
Finally, disallowing federal funding for Viagra and related ED care could possibly inconvenience men who depend on the federal government for their health insurance and health care. Active duty and retired members of the military and federal workers who buy health insurance through the government would have to go outside their usual health care networks for ED care. Far from being a downside, this is actually a benefit of the proposed bill: the Washington DC area alone would receive a tremendous economic boost from the many government and military men who would create a new demand for Viagra and other ED care that would fuel private, market-based solutions that will doubtless be a better fit.
Americans take many different positions on men’s erections. When Viagra was first cleared by the FDA, it was a watershed event that changed the social landscape. Some people suggest that this was actually a case of bureaucratic activism that overreached the agency’s originally intended powers and created a new “right” to erections, even in old age not found anywhere in the Constitution. There is a tremendous groundswell of people who are opposed to this change in our society, especially women who are increasingly pressured by their partners for sex now that safe, effective ED care has become legal and widely available.
Now that I’ve raised the issue, I’m sure that you understand how allowing these so-called “health care” procedures to be part of insurance plans or individual spending that reduces tax liability is actually a form of federal funding that forces taxpayers – myself included! – to pay for procedures that many of us find reprehensible and immoral. This is doubtless only the first of many issues where the government will have to intervene in personal medical decisions to prevent innocent taxpayers from having their hard-earned money spent on hard-ons. I look forward to the exciting intercourse that will ensue.