Minnesotans will find religion

Consider this, which should be a victory for boys, except it won’t be because of the ridiculous cop-out.

The state’s insurance programs for 670,000 low-income Minnesotans no longer include coverage of Viagra, sex-change operations or circumcisions, unless required by one’s religion.

This will never pass any form of challenge, of course, because of the religious exception. How is the state supposed to verify that? And I must ask, how does a religion “require” circumcision? Freedom of religion means the child has the same right to choose his religion. His parents may raise him in their religion, but they do not have the right to impose a severe physical mutilation upon him. We don’t let parents circumcise girls if that’s part of their religion. Why are boys exempt from such protection?

And there’s this:

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, a chiropractor and father of six boys, agreed. He added two exemptions, to allow payment if it’s medically necessary or part of someone’s “religious practice.”

Rep. Abeler is wise to include the medically necessary provision, but along with an increase in religion, I suspect there will also be a significant increase in “medically necessary” diagnoses in the future. American physicians already perform far too many circumcisions for grossly-misdiagnosed foreskin problems such as phimosis. This will only get worse when the incentive for the parent is to push the doctor for circumcision. I’m already momentarily pretending that the $54 average fee for performing circumcisions won’t factor into the decision. It’s shameful.

Every state should adopt this policy. With state budgets under constant scrutiny for cost-cutting measures, this is an easy, immediate solution, saving funds for necessary medical procedures. As the article states, Minnesota is the 16th state to eliminate state funding for routine neonatal circumcision. The other 34 states must follow suit, without the ridiculous exemptions.

For what it’s worth, insurance companies should eliminate funding for routine neonatal circumcision, the most performed surgery in America. Insurance companies justify funding circumcisions as a benefit that satisfies a customer demand. Insurance companies correctly refuse to pay for cosmetic surgery, such as breast augmentation, for adults. They shouldn’t pay for forced cosmetic surgery on infants.