|Medicare Now Covers Sex Change Operations
Today, a United States Department of Health and Human Services review board ruled that transgender people receiving Medicare cannot be denied coverage for sex change surgeries. The ruling recognizes sex change operations as medically necessary and effective treatment for individuals who do not identify with their biological gender.
The decision was made in favor of Denee Mallon, a 74-year-old Army veteran, who requested to have Medicare pay for her sex change operation. The veteran made the request two years ago and was denied. Now, the agency’s Departmental Appeals Board is claiming that the 30-year-old HHS rule excluding sex change surgeries from the procedures covered by the national health program for the elderly and disabled is unjustified.
“Sometimes I am asked aren’t I too old to have surgery. My answer is how old is too old? When people ask if I am too old, it feels like they are implying that it’s a `waste of money’ to operate at my age. But I could have an active life ahead of me for another 20 years. And I want to spend those years in congruence and not distress.”
Jennifer Levi, a lawyer who directs the Transgender Rights Project of Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders in Boston, claimed that the ruling does not mean Medicare recipients are necessarily entitled to have sex change surgery paid for by the government. Instead, it means recipients will be able to seek authorization by submitting documentation from a doctor and mental health professionals stating that surgery is needed in their individual case.
With this ruling, Medicare recipients will “…either get coverage or, at a minimum, receive an individualized review of the medical need for the specific procedure they seek, just like anyone seeking coverage for any other medical treatment,” Levi stated.
Since most private insurance companies and state-run Medicaid programs are told whether or not a procedure is necessary by the federal government, sex change operations could become a common procedure to be covered by insurance companies.
Prayer Condemned in North Carolina
This past weekend, the North Buncombe High School Band Boosters of Asheville, North Carolina, hosted an event as a kick-off to its “Field of Honor” flag display in honor of the United States war veterans. The event also served as a fundraiser to help send the band to Hawaii to perform at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade.
Although the event was held off of school property and attendance was voluntary, at least one parent sent a complaint to school officials because the event included prayers that referenced the Name of Jesus. Local Pastor Jim Dykes presented both the invocation and benediction at the event.
Principal Jack Evans stated that he received a complaint from a mother who identifies as a pagan.
“Basically she felt like it was inclusive of only one religion. With it being a school event, even though it was off campus and on private property, unfortunately they are probably right. That is against the policy. As a school event, we should be following the expectations of our school system, and therefore it should have been more inclusive. But it’s a learning opportunity for us.”
The school district holds to a religion policy that requires schools to “neither advance nor inhibit any religion or religious belief, viewpoint, expression, or practice.” Therefore, school officials have agreed that since the ceremony only presented prayer in Jesus Name, it violated the religion policy of the district.
“The event, while not on campus, included all members of the North Buncombe High School marching band, so it is against the policy as it’s a school-related function,” spokesman Jason Rhodes explained.
Many parents and students are outraged by the officials condemning the prayers at the event.
Commenter Joe Browning asserted:
“One parent complained. It’s amazing how all it takes is one to turn the whole thing around. Imagine if the majority would rise up against the one that is causing issues. The one would shut their mouths and not have a foot to stand on. Instead, political correctness takes over and the ‘one’ becomes the majority and the majority becomes the minority.”
Commenter Anthony Phillips added:
“The Supreme Court just stated recently that prayer is not a violation of separation of church and state. Some of you need to stop being so thin skinned and ‘politically correct” when it comes to the rights and freedoms of others. You don’t like prayer, then don’t pray, but don’t try to force your non-religious views on others by telling them they cannot pray.”
Man Sentenced for his Method of Discipline
On Wednesday, Robert Demond of Kilauea, Hawaii, was convicted of endangering the welfare of a minor because he made his son walk home from school. Demond says he had his son walk home as punishment for his wrong behavior. However, Judge Kathleen Watanabe claimed Demond’s form of discipline was “old school” and no longer appropriate. Therefore, Watanabe sentenced Demond to one year probation and a $200 fine. She also demanded that he attend a parenting class.
Demond believes his choice of discipline in no way placed his son in danger. He asserted that it was a common form of punishment when he was growing up.
Maybe Demond’s method of discipline is no longer used today, but a little walking never hurt anyone. It’s a sad day when the government is telling parents how to raise their children.
Judge Calls Pro-Life Doctor a Liar
On Thursday during an open trial, United States District Judge William Conley suggested that Dr. John Throp, a pro-life doctor, was lying when he gave facts about complications during abortion procedures.
The trial is based on the new Wisconsin law which requires abortionists to obtain admitting privileges to a local hospital. Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services filed a lawsuit against the new law earlier this year, claiming that it will cause Affiliated Medical Services to close its doors since local hospitals have been unwilling to grant its abortionist, Dennis Christensen, admitting privileges.
Three doctors took the stand on Thursday to testify about the law and whether or not it is beneficial. Thorp, an obstetrician at the University of North Carolina, had been asked by the state to testify at the trial in defense of the new requirement. When Thorp took the stand, Judge Conley began to argue with him, finding issues with his statement.
Thorp stated that he believes complications from abortions are under-reported, and he does not find any United States studies on maternal deaths from abortion procedures to be completely reliable.
After Thorp made that statement, Conley then referenced a quote from the late author Mark Twain, stating that there are “lies, expletive lies and statistics.”
Thorp replied to Conley’s comment stating that he felt that Conley was suggesting to the court that he was lying. Conley quickly went into the defense mode and said he did not mean to call Thorp a liar.
Thorp went on to say, “Admission privileges allow for continued care rather than sending a patient to a black box, which is my opinion what transfer agreements allow them to do. I reject the final premise that a law like this will harm Wisconsin women.”