Conservatives have long avoided heated dinner conversations by demurring, “I’m socially liberal but fiscally conservative.” Translation: I have a diverse array of friends and enjoy low taxes.
While unobjectionable in theory, this attitude has enabled something nefarious. The federal government has turned our desire to “live and let live” into an invitation to incentivize harmful choices.
We incentivize broken families through marriage penalties in welfare programs.
We incentivize unemployment through student loan blowouts.
We incentivize chronic homelessness through failed “housing first” policies. And, in so doing, we have destroyed lives and ravaged taxpayer bank accounts.
Now, the American taxpayer is about to foot the bill for children and young people to dig holes near their rectums and remove their uteruses. In August, the Biden administration published a proposed rule that would require hospitals to provide “gender transition or gender-affirming care” (i.e., chemical castration and surgeries that mutilate the human body for no medical reason). And, under the Biden rule, insurers must pay for this. There’s no age floor, meaning the regulation applies to children.
Surgically or chemically changing one’s body to fit one’s perceived “gender identity” is no longer an individual choice with individual consequence, as are other cosmetic procedures such as face lifts or hair plugs. This policy mandate will increase your premiums, decrease your doctor’s availability and your hospital’s bed space, and further weigh down the economy.
How did we get here? The same mentality that lets us survive dinner parties. The left has relabeled common-sense medical and insurance decisions as “discriminatory” and we’ve gone along with it.
Take the case of Rem Wransky. Wransky, a web developer with the Cleveland Orchestra, had surgery to make himself appear like a woman in August 2020 while employed elsewhere. In the fall of 2021, Wransky began experiencing pain and discomfort due to a complication from the procedure, which required surgical intervention for relief. But the orchestra-provided insurance didn’t cover it. So Wransky sued, claiming sex discrimination.
The Cleveland Orchestra is not a discriminatory organization — it hired a trans-identified web developer after all. Nevertheless, Wransky says the orchestra-provided insurance would fund the procedure if he were born with a vagina, and the difference in treatment was both sex-based and discriminatory. That’s a strange argument, because if Wransky were born with a vagina, he would not have had complications arising from his surgery. Indeed, he would not have had the surgery in the first place, meaning his insurance would not have anything to pay for.
Still, the Cleveland Orchestra quickly settled, agreeing to pay for the surgery.
Costs don’t magically disappear when an employer or insurer pays for them. Gender reassignment procedures can run well into the six figures. Hospitals send their bill to insurers. Insurers, facing higher costs, increase premiums on employers and families. Employers, facing higher costs, hire fewer workers and raise the price of goods. And America’s families are left with the bill.
While advocates claim that surgeries on healthy trans-identified people are necessary to avert suicides and other mental health issues, the evidence simply isn’t there. Some studies even show that suicidality increases after such surgeries. Because of that, the Obama administration was unable to conclude that Medicare should pay for medical transition.
The Biden administration estimates the public won’t notice “negligible” increased costs from its mutilation mandate. But today, 1.4% of 13- to 17-year-olds identify as transgender. The average insurance premium, not including out-of-pocket expenses, is already $22,221 for a family. How much more of your paycheck are you willing to dedicate to pay for the mutilation of 1.4% of all children?
“Socially liberal and fiscally conservative” seems kind and nice. But it has proven destructive.
In the name of non-discrimination, the government will wreak irreversible havoc not only on children’s bodies and souls but on your family’s prosperity. You can’t get a new car or winter coats because your money is being shuttled to causes the government says are bigger than yours.
Maybe we should live in a world in which individual life decisions come with individual life consequences. But we don’t. It’s perfectly right to demand the government stop impoverishing you to incentivize destruction.
May Mailman is a senior fellow with the Independent Women’s Law Center.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.