Medicare Won’t Support Sexuality in Older Adults

Sexual activity is central to happiness and quality of life— according to a study by David Blanchflower from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and Andrew Oswald from the University of Warwick in Britain. Regular sexual activity helps maintain testosterone levels and prevents prostate cancer in aging men. Yet, Medicare won’t fund treatment for their sexual problems. Congressman Steve King from Iowa called medications like Viagra “lifestyle drugs” and said, “Taxpayers wouldn’t foot the tab for ‘grandpa’s Viagra.’” Erection problems are common in men over 60, with 70 percent of men over 70 unable to get or maintain erections. Erectile dysfunction goes hand-in-hand with diseases such as coronary artery disease and diabetes. Many middle- and lower-income retired people cannot afford Viagra at $38 per pill. Congressman King’s ageist attitude will no doubt change if the day comes when he can no longer get it up. (The New York Times, August 4, 2015)

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