Skin In The Game

You may not know it—I know I didn’t—but in this age of austerity, 18 states “have cancelled Medicaid funding for circumcisions,” according to Newser.

And the circumcision rate in the U.S. is “down to 55% from 79% three decades ago,” with one study claiming,

that the US health care system could face an additional $4 billion in costs over the next decade if rates continue to fall.

Now, I think that is a small price to pay to cover budget shortfalls resulting from widespread Republican resistance to tax increases. So what, if in the long run, such resistance results in greater costs:

The health benefits of newborn circumcision—including reduced chances of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and the transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, including HIV—outweigh the risks, according to a policy statement published today by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In an update to its 13-year-old policy, reports the AP, the leading pediatricians group stops just short of endorsing the procedure, but does recommend that insurance companies pay for it.

One way or another, all of us must have some skin in the game if America is to survive.



  1. Duane, your choice of title is inspired!

    Circumcision is of course but one of many, many procedures and vaccinations that would be done as a matter of course for all citizens under a proper healthcare system that had as its primary objective the interests of the citizens instead of the profit motive. If the Ryan plan is advance, this is only the tip of the iceberg.


    • The ACA, as you know, tries to emphasize preventive care as a way of cutting costs in the future. Everyone, including Republican lawmakers and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, knows this works in the long run. But they are shamefully playing a short-term game, all the while accusing the President of overlooking our long-term mess. Unbleepingbelievable.

      It is, indeed, the tip of the iceberg and folks had better realize it now.



  2. “Now, I think that is a small price to pay to cover budget shortfalls”

    To cover what?

    ” If the Ryan plan is advance, this is only the tip of the iceberg”

    Tip of what again?

    “It is, indeed, the tip of the iceberg”

    Oh! That tip!!

    As I was driving home the other day, I became captive to a discussion on NPR about “circumcision,” and whether or not it was humane. The debate began in Berlin which has a long standing record of supporting beliefs that include “Circumcision.”,,16213428,00.html

    As an uncircumcised male I find the notion of having “Winky’s hood snipped” a bit disturbing and probably an unnecessary and occasionally cruel procedure.

    I personally chose not to have it done to both my sons. I figure if nature wanted this bit of skin removed then natural selection would’ve taken care of it. As an atheist I’m not a party to religious requirements, and as a liberal I have no objection to those requirements either.

    The medical benefits of circumcision have become questionable and at as of yet unresolved.

    “The use of circumcision for medical or health reasons is an issue that continues to be debated. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend routine circumcision for newborn males stating the evidence was not significant enough to prove the operation’s benefit.”

    So the question now falls on all of us to decide whether or not circumcision is a necessary or elective medical procedure, or if it is up to the parents to decide even if it is based on religious beliefs.


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