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Feds Try to Deny Viagara to Sex Offenders
Federal officials are scrambling to find a way to plug a legal loophole that allows convicted rapists and other high-risk sex offenders to receive erectile-dysfunction drugs paid for by Medicaid.
The issue was revealed Sunday by the New York state comptroller's office, which said audits covering the period of January 2000 to March 2005 found 198 sex offenders in New York received Medicaid-reimbursed Viagra after their convictions. Their crimes included offenses against children as young as 2 years old, Comptroller Alan Hevesi said.
"Now that this issue has been brought to our attention, we are certainly going to see what we can do administratively, if anything," said Mary Kahn, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
States May Deny Viagra to Sex Offenders
A federal agency has begun notifying all 50 states that they don't have to offer Medicaid-funded Viagra to sex offenders, a step taken after it was discovered that more than 400 convicted sex offenders in New York and Florida were reimbursed for the erectile dysfunction drug.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services acted swiftly Monday, one day after the New York comptroller's office said audits from 2000 through March found that 198 rapists and other high-risk sex offenders in the state received Medicaid-reimbursed Viagra after their convictions.
Their crimes included offenses against children as young as 2, Comptroller Alan Hevesi said. The report sent the Bush administration scrambling to find a way to close the loophole.