Saturday, September 27, 2014

Footing the Bill for Moral Confusion

Moral oblivion comes with a price tag.  There are many costs, such as 1.5 million a day for Planned Parenthood and all the children from single-parent homes needing services,  but I want to turn my attention to a recent addition to the taxpayer ledger.  Until May 30 of this year, Medicare denied requests for sex reassignments surgeries, but the procedure is now considered medically necessary for people who feel nature assigned them the wrong parts.  I’m not making light of this painful situation but I am saying:  Oh come on!
                 The determination was made based on the case of a 74-year old transgendered Army veteran who disputed Medicare’s refusal to pay for reconstruction surgery. Since seventy-four-year-old bodies usually start falling apart, it would seem that a major overhaul would not be in his best interest in a number of ways.   But he wanted what he wanted and it wasn’t golf. 

                   The ruling reversed a Medicare policy that has been in place since 1981, which goes to prove that we used to be much smarter back then.  The review board ruled that the $50,000 surgery is now safe and effective and can no longer be considered experimental.  I am disappointed but not shocked.  After all, some people call abortions safe and effective too.  Some university and large company health plans have also jumping on board—or rather overboard—with coverage, which goes to prove that peer pressure is alive and not well.  

In an interview, the senior-citizen army veteran acknowledged that he would be criticized but said he wanted congruence between how he feels and how he looks.   I can totally relate to that now that I’m getting older. Seriously, I do not feel a day over thirty but my body is not congruent with those feelings.

It turns out, that this story is not even big news because taxpayers in many states have already been paying for transgender benefits for convicted felons.  Colorado, Massachusetts, and Virginia are among the states that pay for such things as hormone treatments, hair removal and makeup.  For instance, a federal appellate court in Virginia, ruled that Michael Stokes, serving a 73-year sentence in Virginia for robbing a bank, was entitled to sex-change surgery lest his time in prison be cruel and unusual punishment.

At the moment, there is yet another such situation afoot.  Chelsea Manning (formerly known as Bradley) recently filed a lawsuit claiming that the Department of Defense is responsible for providing gender-reassignment surgery so that she (chromosomally he) will feel more comfortable in her own skin.  She is currently incarcerated in Fort Leavenworth prison while claiming that the prison is denying her necessary medical treatment for “gender dysphoria.”  (Dysphoria: a state of unease or generalized dissatisfaction with life.)

Bradley/Chelsea Manning
Chelsea’s attorney says that the Constitution obligates the Department of Defense to treat her for this medical condition so that she can fully express her gender identity.  The young private is serving a 35-year sentence for sending classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.  Chelsea made a public statement that that it is a matter of law that her condition be treated, much like depression or anxiety needs treatment.  She mentioned that the increased male gender norm found in a prison is a “major imposition” for her.   No doubt.

Part of the problem with all this confusion and immorality in our culture is that so many people are saying, Okay, cool, instead of, Say what?   The general public is usually stingy with their sympathies for uncomfortable prisoners.   A prisoner not getting treated for depression would not attract much public attention or fan mail, and yet, one wanting sex-change surgery is getting lot of both.  I know it’s a deep and painful issue for people feeling they are in the wrong body, but we need to draw the line somewhere.  Of late, the government has been trying to draw the line to keep Christian values out while opening the floodgates to every other value and charging us for it too.  Sympathy is cheap but sex-change surgeries are not.  

And in the end, is this expensive surgery fixing problems or just changing the way they look?  A Danish study released in 2011, said that sex change surgeries are not even the end all and be for “gender dysphoria.”   The Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study, showed considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behavior, and psychiatric problems than the general population.  (Not that the general population is doing that well either.) This suggests to me that there were other problems to begin with.  But instead, the findings were translated to mean:  add more long-term treatment.  But you already saw that one coming, didn’t you? 

For more inspiration, check out Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories From Everyday Families. Your children will laugh while learning big spiritual lessons with Dear God, I Don't Get It! and Dear God, You Can't Be Serious. 

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