I got an interesting little note in my mail today. The first interesting thing was that I got mail – seriously who uses snail mail anymore? The answer is Blue Shield of California. They wrote me a nice little letter to inform me of a lovely new mandate from the “California Department of Insurance”. I didn’t know this even existed, but of course I am not surprised. California would regulate my farts if it could.
According to this letter (emphasis mine):
Due to a mandate from the California Department of Insurance, coverage for medical services related to a gender transition will not be denied if coverage is available for those services when not related to gender transition. Health services that are ordinarily available to individuals of only one sex will not de denied solely due to the fact the person is enrolled as the other sex.
I have no idea if this is at all related to federal Obamacare mandates that are kicking in, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Now many will say this is simply a matter of not discriminating against transgender folks or those who have had a sex change. That’s all well and good. The issue however is not discrimination, the issue is the mandate. A mandate in this context is when government demands a business behave in a certain way.
Under this mandate, if someone decides they aren’t happy as a man and decides to become a woman, has surgery to do so, and has a complication from that surgery then CA insurance companies are now required to cover those complications if it is something that would otherwise be covered. At least that is how insurance companies will likely interpret this mandate.
This forces the current customer pool for those companies to pay for the complications of an elective surgery that someone chooses to undertake. Of course, insurance companies are not charities, they are businesses, and those costs will be passed along to the rest of their customer base. It is simple economics. Someone must pay. It will not be them.
Under a free market in medicine with true competition among insurance agencies, perhaps some would cover gender transition issues, and perhaps other wouldn’t. It’s a little thing called customer preference, and it is what drives the market. Under a system of government subsidies, price fixing and mandates, the preferences of customers and the price signals that normally guide the decision making of business is tossed out the window.
Mandate Madness! Maybe this will be another regular feature. If you have a tip on a crazy new mandate, drop me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org.