Declining rates of circumcision could cost society big time when the boy babies become men and risk STDs from engaging in risky activities. From the LA Times story:
Declining rates of circumcision among infants will translate into billions of dollars of unnecessary medical costs in the U.S. as these boys grow up and become sexually active men, researchers at Johns Hopkins University warned. In a study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, a team of economists and epidemiologists estimated that every circumcision not performed would lead to significant increases in lifetime medical expenses to treat sexually transmitted diseases and related cancers — increases that far surpass the costs associated with the procedure.
Gee, apparently there is a health value to circumcision. Waddya know?
The authors argue circumcision should be covered by Medicaid:
To [Senior Author, Dr. Aaron] Tobian, the message is clear: Government efforts to save money by denying coverage for circumcision are penny-wise but pound-foolish. “The federal Medicaid program should reclassify circumcision from an optional service to one all states should cover,” he said. That sentiment was echoed in an editorial accompanying the study. UCLA health economist Arleen Leibowitz wrote that by failing to require states to cover circumcision in Medicaid plans, the U.S. reinforces healthcare disparities. “If we don’t give poor parents the opportunity to make this choice, we’re discriminating against their health in the future,” she said in an interview. “If something is better for health and saves money, why shouldn’t we do it? Or at least, why shouldn’t we allow parents the option to choose it?”
I don’t know about that, since circumcision is clearly elective. But I do know that whether or not to have baby boys receive the procedure should be strictly parents’ choice.