This just in from state Sen. Don Benton’s campaign for U.S. Senate:
Benton Calls Murray Out on Supporting Viagra for Sex Offenders
TUMWATER, WA – The Benton for U.S. Senate Campaign today announced they have posted an educational video on the web designed to show Washington State voters how their tax dollars are being spent in Washington, D.C. The recently passed healthcare reform bill, supported by Senator Patty Murray, included provisions for registered sex offenders to receive government assistance for prescription drugs such as Viagra.
Now I will be the first to admit that I haven’t read every page of the health care reform bill. I’m not positive anyone has, except maybe a couple congressional staff members with bizarre dispositions. But I strongly suspect that it will not become known to posterity as the Viagra For Sex Offenders Act of 2010.
FactCheck.org gives the following account of this artificial dispute.
If Benton looked just a little harder, I’m sure he could find more substantive grounds for attacking Murray’s support of the health care bill.
Does the new law cover Viagra for convicted sex offenders?
There’s no change from current law. Convicts who are not in prison can purchase whatever health plan they’d like and some plans could cover erectile-dysfunction drugs. The Congressional Research Service said that there was nothing in the new law that would “require health plans to limit the type of benefits that can be offered based on the plan beneficiary’s prior criminal convictions.”
This mini-controversy erupted when Republicans introduced a string of amendments in a final effort to obstruct passage of the reconciliation bill. Republican Sen. Coburn of Oklahoma proposed the amendment to bar sex offenders from getting health plans that covered such drugs with federal money through the state-based exchanges. Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana called the amendment “a crass political stunt.” And it failed by a 57-42 vote.