(Scripps Howard News Service) Between 2000 and 2010, Medicare paid out more than $188 million for more than half a million “male vacuum erection systems” or penis pumps, according to a report by the Scripps Howard News Service.

That represents a 500 percent increase in payments for the devices over that decade.

That jump is driven by seniors who are determined to keep their sex lives active into their 70s and beyond, as well as the decision by Congress in 2006 to cut off Medicare coverage of drugs for erectile dysfunction such as Viagra and Cialis, leaving the pumps as the main covered option, according to experts interviewed by Scripps Howard News Service health and science writer Lee Bowman.

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