I can’t imagine what it would it would be like to be a man trapped in a woman’s body – or vice-versa. My best guess is that it would be terribly painful and frustrating. If people in this terrible situation can’t afford the operation that might bring them peace, I would hope that the government might help.
However, there are limits. And it strikes me that the government has exceeded them once more with its announcement that it is lifting its ban on Medicare coverage for sex change operations. I am going to assume that the transgender woman who brought the case, Denee Mallon, would benefit from the surgery. The problem is, she is 74 years-old and the operation costs somewhere between $10,000 and $50,000.
Our federal government owes $16 trillion. Projected spending is on an unsustainable path, with health care devouring an ever-growing share of our economy. At some point we have to stop saying yes. Providing sex change surgery to a senior citizen sounds like a good place to start.
If Ms. Mallon were a 25-year-old, I could see the long-term benefit. But she is 74.
This reminds me of my greatest regret about the Republican response to Obamacare – its incessant attacks on death panels. I do not want the government deciding how to ration medical care; on the other hand, a responsible conservative must say that we cannot provide everything to everybody. In politics we too often turn math problems into moral issues. In so many cases it’s not a question of what’s right or wrong but can we afford it? We have to get better at saying we can’t.