(Sex) Change We Can Believe In?
Taxpayer-funded sex changes: They aren't just for traitors and illegal immigrants anymore! While the rest of the media was racing from story to story over the weekend, HHS quietly tried to disguise the reversal of a 33-year-old coverage ban on gender reassignment surgery. In a 48-hour span that saw the resignation of the VA chief and the potentially illegal release of five top Taliban terrorists, taxpayer-sponsored genital reconstruction almost seems tame by comparison. Every week, the competition for most scandalous decision gets stiffer, as evidenced by this story -- which, under any other circumstances, would be front-page news. Instead, it's just another sign of an administration wildly out of control -- and out of excuses -- for its taxpayer-funded extremism.
After Friday, HHS has ruled that it's "no longer reasonable" to expect older Americans to pay for their own sexual reassignments. Instead, it now recognizes the surgery as a "medically necessary" and "effective" treatment for people who can't come to grips with their own biological gender. Like Denee Mallon. The 74-year-old Army veteran was the driving force behind the change, even going so far as to sue HHS for the benefit -- which, according to some estimates, could run as much as $50,000 a procedure. (And we wonder why America is more than $17 trillion in debt?)
The policy, which private insurers are certain to imitate, gives patients the right to petition Medicare to cover their operations. Despite the sky-high costs and an even higher controversy quotient, the Obama administration believes it's the taxpayers' responsibility to cover an elective body enhancement that may only elevate the mental and physical risks for people suffering from gender confusion. If the government will pay for this, why not plastic surgery for people who don't feel as old as their age? As if people couldn't be more disgusted, the double standard remains.
While President Obama is busy financing senior sex changes, wounded veterans are dying for lack of medical care. If you want a snapshot of this administration's priorities, that's it. Making matters worse, the move only paves the way for gender reassignment surgeries to be a routinely covered benefit -- like abortion. This is exactly what FRC warned about when ObamaCare was passed. In the 2,000-plus pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, there are literally 4,156 issues left to the administration's discretion. (Or indiscretion, as this case would imply.) People everywhere are realizing -- too late -- that those issues include outrages like contraception mandates and politically correct surgeries that no Congress would have approved.
That's why the health care law is so dangerous. It empowers the government to practice politics -- instead of empowering others to practice medicine. Americans are free to disfigure their bodies -- but they aren't free to ask taxpayers to foot the bill.
ExxonImmobile to Liberal P.C. Agenda
It won't change the price of gas, but it may comfort you to know that at ExxonMobil, your business isn't fueling radical pro-homosexual policies. Despite outside pressure, ExxonMobil is holding the line on its workplace ethics -- a 17-year streak that remained intact after last week's shareholders meeting. In a corporate environment that seems to be dictated by pro-homosexual progressives, ExxonMobil hasn't budged on its opposition to making "sexual orientation" a special protected class.
If anything, support for the far-Left's agenda is actually dropping. Only 19.5% of shareholders voted to add "sexual orientation" to the company's discrimination code -- down from 19.8% in 2013 and 20.6% in 2012. "ExxonMobil's policies go beyond the law and prohibit any form of discrimination," a company spokesman said. "Based on these existing all-inclusive, zero-tolerance policies, the Board believes the proposal is unnecessary."
In typical totalitarian fashion, liberals are moving to plan B: demanding ExxonMobil's compliance. "An executive order by President Barack Obama would force ExxonMobil to adopt LGBT workplace protections in order to continue profiting from hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded contracts," insisted the head of Freedom to Work. "It's time for presidential leadership to move Exxon to accept the American value that everybody deserves a fair shot in the workplace."
Of course, it wouldn't be the first time the White House has strong-armed private business. With the HHS mandate, Americans have witnessed the federal government reaching into the free market and ordering conformity to the President's extreme ideology. Fortunately, not every business is going down without a fight. ExxonMobil's consistent refusal shows that corporate America is not going the Left's direction without government interference.
No Empathy at Embassy in Sudan
While the weekend headlines were dominated by one American's release, the world still waits for news on Sudan's Meriam Ibrahim and her two little children, still imprisoned in Sudan. After conflicting reports, one of which implied that Meriam's release was imminent, no one seems to know the status of the mother, whose American husband is desperate to free his family from the brutal conditions in the Khartoum prison. According to the Sudanese government, comments about the trio's discharge were taken out of context. Hours after hopes were raised, officials backpedaled and insisted the family would have to await the court's verdict.
Twenty-seven year-old Meriam, also a doctor, is "frustrated," her husband Daniel says. Who wouldn't be after the only response from her husband's U.S. homeland is a statement of "strong concern." Even that, Daniel suggests, is more than he got at the U.S. embassy. Asked by British reporters what kind of support he's gotten from the American government, the U.S. citizen replied, "Sadly, it's not the U.S. government. When the problem began, the U.S. consul here had a very negative position on this. She was very high-handed. She's very, very rude. She said -- and I quote -- 'I don't have time.'"
The African Commission on Human Rights has pleaded with President Obama to step in, but to little or no avail. For the administration, the optics are less than flattering. While the White House is willing to hand over five of the most dangerous terrorists in the world back to their bases of operation for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, it refuses to help an innocent woman and her two American children, who are suffering brutally for their faith. Join us in calling on the President to bring the full weight of the U.S. government to bear until these Americans are safely in U.S. custody. Sign FRC's WhiteHouse.gov petition here.
** Last week's Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans had plenty of star power. Check out what the GOP had to say in this wrap-up from the Washington Post.
*** Don't miss this Wednesday's special policy lecture on abstinence education with Valerie Huber, President of the National Abstinence Education Association. Join us at noon at FRC headquarters (801 G Street, NW, Washington, D.C.) for "Collateral Damage in the 'War on Women' Debate: Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Caught in the Crosshairs." Click here for more details or to sign up!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.