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"There is another, rather unpleasant, reason for male circumcision being carried out in modern times. In some countries, babies are still treated this way because it provides an attractive fee for the doctors who perform the operation. Significantly, in Britain, where a National Health Service removed the doctor's fee, the frequency of the operation fell to 0.41 percent of the male population. [Webmaster's Note: Notice that is not 41%, but 0.41 percent-- less than 1%. At least 6% of boys in England (similar in other parts of Britain) go on to be circumcised by age 15 - more still in later life. This is mainly due to the overdiagnosis of phimosis-- which, cannot be truely identified until puberty, as the foreskin is naturally non-retractable in infants and children-- and its innappropriate treatment by circumcision.] In another country, where the fees were still in force, over 80 percent of male babies were circumcised before they left the maternity hospitals."30
Dr. Dean Edell comments:
"Before the war, it was not universally practiced. It was a socio-deomographic thing, more than... And still was after the war because a lot of poor people had babies- especially babies at home- couldn't afford a circumcision, so that reinforced this class distinction.
"Insurance companies shouldn't pay for it. HMO's shouldn't pay for it. And let parents understand that when they write that check- maybe that'll get them to think a little bit about it. This is not a part of good medical care."
As of December, 2005, sixteen states in the U.S. have cut funding for cirucumcision from their Medicaid budgets - Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, and Washington - with several others in legislation. For a more indepth look at Medicaid's dropping coverage for non-theraputic circumcision, see ICGI's Medicaid Project which includes a map indicating which States have cut funding, along with the comprehensive report, Tax Dollar Funding of Medically Unnecessary Circumcision through Medicaid.
January 30, 2007, Amanda Euringer explores Foreskin Facecream: Fibroblast your wrinkles?... where she says, "I am at the Body Worlds 3 exhibit with my six-year-old, and what I thought was going to be an interesting medical lesson for my daughter is turning into a strange art show and commentary on our varying degrees of values around human flesh.... In an article for The Tyee, Dr. Paul Tinari estimated that a single male foreskin can be worth upwards of $100,000.... But not all uses of foreskin fibroblast are "medical" in nature. One of the most publicized examples of the foreskin-for- sale trend involves a skin cream that has been promoted by none other than Oprah Winfrey. SkinMedica'sa face cream, which costs over $100 US for a 0.63 oz bottle, is used by many high-profile celebrities (such as Winfrey and Barbara Walters) as an alternative to cosmetic surgery. Winfrey has promoted the SkinMedica product several times on her show, and her website, which raves, there's "a new product that boosts collagen production and can rejuvenate skin called TNS Recovery Complex. TNS is comprised from six natural human growth factors found in normal healthy skin...the factors are engineered from human foreskin!"
The Selling of Circumcision by David Chamberlin, Ph.D.
"If you have a baby boy, you need to decide whether or not you want him circumcised... Remember that (many) insurance companies don't pay for circumcision, so you need to ask about the cost before deciding."
University of California at Davis Health Center
"...the cost of circumcision is about $100 per procedure in the U.S. (A total of $200 million is spent on circumcisions each year.) You may have to pay for the procedure yourself because many medical insurance companies do not cover the costs of this procedure."
Folsom Obstetrics & Gynecology Medical Group, Inc.
"Some private insurance plans reimburse physicians for the procedure and others do not....each state has its own payment structure"
THE NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, Volume 22, Number 18, Pages 1312-1315, May 3, 1990. THE QUESTION OF ROUTINE NEONATAL CIRCUMCISION Ronald L. Poland, M. D.
"...(infants) covered by private insurance were 2.5 times more likely to be circumcised."
JOURNAL OF FAMILY PRACTICE, Volume 41 Number 4, Oct 1995: Page 370-376. Neonatal circumcision: associated factors and length of hospital stay
"...countries that once circumcised as much as we do have dramatically reduced their circumcision rates, primarily through strong statements against the practice by their medical academies, good counseling by doctors to parents and the refusal of national health insurance to pay for it."
Deconstructing circumcision Tuesday, March 16, 1999 By Jon Delano
"Some medical professionals believe that circumcision for other than religious purposes would disappear from America if it weren't covered by insurance. This is what happened in England, where the circumcision rate prior to World War II was roughly equivalent to that in the United States. After the war, British doctors could find no compelling evidence to continue the surgery, and it was dropped from the list of covered services. Within a decade, the circumcision rate dropped from 50 percent among the working class and 85 percent among the upper class to less than half a percent in both?
"'Why is this procedure still covered by HMOs and health-insurance companies? The simple answer is, because parents want it,'says Patricia Wald, M.D., regional coordinating chief of pediatrics for Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in southern California. There, doctors counsel parents so they're making an informed decision, and don't perform the operation unless asked. 'We cover it as a courtesy. But to me it's cosmetic surgery, like ear piercing.'"
Men's Health Magazine Article: 'Separated At Birth: Did Circumcision Ruin Your Sex Life?", July 1998
"...the monetary benefits of circumcising newborns will not exceed (potential future medical) cost. It is proposed that the procedure be regarded as cosmetic surgery and be paid for by parents who wish the procedure carried out rather than by taxpayer-funded health insurance plans. "
CANADIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION JOURNAL, Volume 131
"In the American system of private insurance, by contrast, payers automatically covered the costs of the procedure based on physician consensus that it was medically beneficial. Not until the 1960s, in a period of intense challenges to received wisdom and institutional authority, did American doctors seriously question the medical legitimacy of routine neonatal circumcision."
Journal of Social History Volume 28 Number 1, p. 5 - 36 Fall 1994 FROM RITUAL TO SCIENCE: THE MEDICAL TRANSFORMATION OF CIRCUMCISION IN AMERICA By David L. Gollaher California Health Care Institute
"Circumcision is medically optional. The current opinion of most pediatricians is that circumcision is not medically necessary. It is a matter of personal preference whether or not a circumcision is done. Some insurance plans do not pay for this procedure. If you have any questions about circumcision, please don't hesitate to discuss this further with one of the clinic providers."
Michael W. Carlton, M.D. of MedPeds Associates
"I will do a circumcision usually after the baby is at least 12 hours old and up to six weeks of age. It can be done in the hospital or in my office. In the hospital, in addition to my fee for doing the circumcision, there is a hospital charge of about $35.00 for the use of their facilities, supplies and equipment. Medi-Cal and some insurances do not cover the cost of circumcision."
Ted Humphry, M.D.
"Despite the obviously irrational cruelty of circumcision, the profit incentive in American medical practice is unlikely to allow science or human rights principles to interrupt the highly lucrative American circumcision industry. It is now time for European medical associations to condemn the North American medical community for participating in and profiting from what is by any standard a senseless and barbaric sexual mutilation of innocent children."-- Paul M. Fleiss, MD.
"We have a small obstetrical unit and there aren't enough nurses to cover...we don't do all that many thank goodness....and most of the dr's hate doing them.....only the money hungry ones will......I have to say that my husband and I chose not to do it to our sons before I was a nurse...and my husband is circumcised...I gave him the literature I had and let him make the decision...he said "NO #$&%@! WAY" direct quote..*G* "-- Rissi, RN
"Has there been any lobbying of the insurance companies to stop coverage for RIC? I bet the rates would drop some if people had to pay for it. Some of you may remember that when my son was born, my husband and I were against circumcizing him, but due to religious pressure we scheduled an appointment with a pediatric urologist to have it done. It couldn't be done because of a benign medical condition (thank goodness!). One thing I remembered was that, before we knew it couldn't be done, they gave me a form for the insurance company with the diagnosis 'phimosis.' How can a one-week old baby have phimosis? Anyway, at the time, my husband agreed that we weren't going to file insurance for the circumcsion, because it wasn't ethical to do so. (not that having the boy cut was ethical either!)" --Indigo
"My "primary" paying job is with an insurance company (I won't say which one, but let's just say we are part of a very big & well-known association). I submitted a "TIP" (a way that employees can offer suggestions to the powers-that-be to improve corporate performance, financial performance, etc.) to stop covering RIC -- in effect, to require preauthorization of medical necessity for circumcision, and cover only those which are truly medical procedures. This costs us about $275,000 a year, not counting the costs of follow-up care for botched circs, infection, etc. (Related note: in my own personal experience, I have noticed a *huge* number of visits for 'newborn feeding problems' within 2 weeks following RIC -- but not for newborns not circ'ed. Hmmm.) The reply (to paraphrase): 'We discussed your suggestion, but do not support it, because many of our subscribers would have a hard time accepting that circumcision is not a medical procedure.' I pointed out that there are lots of things people want that we don't cover (such as *all other* cosmetic surgery!) The answer: too bad. Maybe if enough people inquired it would make a difference. I do know there are other big insurers who don't cover RIC, or who only cover it if employers buy a separate rider for it (so *everyone* doesn't have to pay for the body decoration of a few)." --Bill
"A couple years back, a friend of mine, a professor at BYU, collected some information and sent it to the insurance company that provides medical insurance for all employees of our church. They wrote back and said, basically 'Oh, we know circumcision isn't necessary but, since all of the other insurance companies in Utah cover it, we would lose business if we dropped it from coverage. If we were to learn that the other companies had dropped it first, we would do so also.' Insurance companies have all kinds of ads, showing how "compassionate" they are, and how dedicated they are to providing health care for children, but they care alot more about the mighty dollar than they do about helping anyone." --Darillyn
"I found that out when I met the urologist who was so despirate to have me circumcise my son that he resorted to lying. He had tried every UTI argument and had eventually admitted that I was right and that the reported UTI benefit is highly exagerated. I had been telling him for 4 minutes that my son didn't need a circumcision (backed up by 7 other doctors, which I also shared with him), so he was not going to get one. He admitted that I was right. Then, he told me that he would HAVE TO HAVE ONE ANYWAY, because (he said) it is IMPOSSIBLE to catheterize an uncirumcised penis. When my son has his surgery, he will need to be catheterized. I even checked it out and asked point blank if he was saying that it was "impossible" to catheterize an intact penis. He said yes, that was what he was saying.
"Keep in mind that he had not even looked at my son (still fully clothed) during this first 4 minutes of the appointment. And, as he was walking in the door, he asked if he was circumicsed. When I said no, his next words were, "Well, the first thing we will do is circumcise him." I looked straight in the man's eyes and said, "You know that's a lie, and I know that's a lie. My son doesn't need a circumcision and he's not going to get one." My two intact sons have been catheterized, so I know it's possible. And, the baby is retractable past the head, so there's no reason why the foreskin should get in the way of a cath tube.
"At least the doctor had some sense of shame and looked away embarassed, but he was probably just upset he was caught in an outright lie designed to manipulate us into giving him that extra $100 or whatever the cost is. Then, he undressed my son, looked at his penis (just looked), said that my son didn't need surgery and to come back in a year, and left.
"BTW, the receptionist said that an appoitment cost anywhere from $85 to $185, it was up to the doctor. He charged us the max, $185. I'm sure that at least part of that was that he wasn't going to be able to get the circumcision fee from us.
"Until he admitted to me that I was right about UTIs, I felt that he might actually believe what he was saying about them. But, once he said that I was right but he was going to circumcise my son anyway (and lied about the reason it HAD to be done), I knew that this man was not interested in my son's health and just wanted the extra bucks in his pocket." --Telina (7/6/00)