Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

The Solution to High Healthcare Costs

Posted by Jerry on June 27, 2007

This is among the most ridiculous news reports I’ve read in a while:

“A trial that opened more than a year ago has become bogged down in Boston federal court. There have been hundreds of hours of testimony from witnesses, including 10 medical specialists paid tens of thousands of dollars. The judge himself even hired an expert to help him make sense of it all.

The question at the center of the case: Should a murderer serving life in prison get a sex-change operation at taxpayer expense? [At this point, I just want to scream “NO!!! Is this really that difficult?!”]

[The] Correction Department and its outside health care provider have spent more than $52,000 on experts to testify about an operation that would cost about $20,000.

The duration and expense of the case have outraged some lawmakers who insist that taxpayers should not have to pay for inmates to have surgery that most private insurers reject as elective.

“They are prisoners. They are there because they’ve broken the law,” said Republican state Sen. Scott Brown, who unsuccessfully introduced a bill to ban sex-change surgery for inmates. “Other folks, people who want to get these types of surgeries, they have to go through their insurance carrier or save up for it and do it independently. Yet if you are in prison, you can do it for nothing? That doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

But advocates say in some cases — such as that of Kosilek, who has twice attempted suicide — sex-change surgery is as much a medical necessity as treatment for diabetes or high blood pressure.

[Robert] Kosilek, 58, was convicted of strangling his wife in 1990. He claimed he killed her in self-defense after she spilled boiling tea on his genitals.

Robert Kosilek legally changed his name to Michelle in 1993, and has sued the Correction Department twice, arguing that its refusal to allow a sex-change operation [that is paid for by free tax money] violates the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

In 2002, U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled that Kosilek was entitled to medical treatment for gender identity disorder, but stopped short of ordering the surgery. Kosilek sued again in 2005, arguing that the hormone treatments, laser hair removal and psychotherapy she has received since Wolf’s ruling have not relieved her anxiety and depression. [bold and square bracketed comments are mine.]

So, if you’re a low or middle-class worker in the US wondering how you and your family are going to deal with high healthcare costs, just head to prison!

What is happening to the United States. {sigh}

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