For Immediate Release: 01/31/2012
Colorado Citizens Invited to Voice their Opinions on their State’s Bill to Reinstate Medicaid Funding for Infant Circumcision
Berkeley, CA – The human rights group Attorneys for the Rights of the Child (ARC) (www.arclaw.org) encourages Colorado citizens to voice their opinions on the fact that even though Colorado eliminated Medicaid coverage for unnecessary infant circumcisions last year, becoming the 18th U.S. state to do so, now members of the Colorado Senate want to reinstate funding for the cosmetic surgery.
J. Steven Svoboda ARC’s Executive Director, said of the bill’s sponsor, “Senator Joyce Foster has authored Senate Bill 12-090, which would authorize new spending at a time when the state of Colorado is seeking ways to reduce costs across the state’s entire budget. If Senator Foster is successful, she and her co-sponsors could cause Colorado taxpayers to be on the hook for as much as $186,500.00 a year or nearly $2 million over 10 years, an amount determined by the committee that proposed the elimination of infant circumcision from Medicaid coverage last year.
Dr. Susan Pharo, director of Medicaid and External Pediatric Care for Kaiser Permanente, called any medical benefit from circumcision “insignificant” last year after the cut went into effect. Svoboda added, “Medicaid funding for infant circumcision is inconsistent with medical evidence.” National medical organizations around the world, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Medical Association (AMA) agree that there is insufficient justification for performing the procedure on newborns absent specific medical indications.
Responding to Senator Foster’s proposal to spend scarce taxpayer money on infant circumcision, Svoboda commented, “The current trend is for states to eliminate any Medicaid spending that does not directly benefit the recipients. Outside Colorado, infant circumcision is recognized by 17 other states as having no immediate benefit to infants with enough costs to warrant its elimination except in the case of medical need. Restoring funding to Medicaid for infant circumcision flouts this reality and wastes precious medical dollars at a time of decreased funding for necessary medical care and procedures. Parents can always obtain the surgery through Medicaid with the appropriate diagnosis in the rare instance where it becomes necessary; before then and for solely cosmetic purposes, it is wasteful.”
The bill’s committee hearing will be held on Thusday, February 2, 2012. Public attendees will be given an opportunity to speak on the topic. The committee members are as follows:
Sen Irene Aguilar, M.D. (D)
Sen Betty Boyd (D)
Sen Kevin Lundberg (R)
Sen Shawn Mitchell (R)
Sen Linda Newell (D)
Sen Jeanne Nicholson (D)
Sen Ellen Roberts (R)
Sen Jean White (R)
Sen Joyce Foster (D)
For further details, visit this link: http://www.colorado.gov/lcs/SenateHHSCmte.