SocietyWatch

From the May 2014 Trumpet Print Edition

Student Insurance Pays for What?

Students at the University of Illinois will pay more for their insurance this year—and it is not just because of Obamacare. In March, the university’s board of trustees voted eight-to-two to cover sex-change operations for students.

Thanks to the Affordable Health Care Act, insurance costs for healthy young people are soaring. Insurance premiums will rise 15 percent this year at the university. Adding gender-reassignment surgery to every student’s insurance will raise rates even further.

Interestingly, one of the two no votes came from the student body representative, who argued that the changes were pushed through without any debate and without informing students first. “I would make the argument that 90 percent of this campus has no idea that this is being added to the student health insurance,” Michael Cunningham told CampusReform.org. “I am the student trustee on campus. If I just found out 17 days ago, I can’t possibly imagine what the rest of the 40,000 students don’t know or feel.”

At least 51 universities, including Yale and Harvard, now force their students to help pay for sex-change operations for peers at their colleges. The extra surgery coverage on college campuses marks a victory for aggressive lobbying by homosexual, bisexual and transgender activists.

The University of Maryland also added gender-reassignment surgery to students’ health insurance plans this year. The university’s health center director said she will only seek student input if the cost estimates come in higher than the expected 1 percent increase. The university already forces students to subsidize hormone therapy for transgender students under its health insurance plan.

How much do sex-change surgeries cost? Mykell Hatcher-McLarin, a senior from Baltimore and a transgender advocate who is biologically female but identifies as male, started an online fund-raiser to ask people to pay for chest masculinization surgery; her procedure is expected to cost at least $7,000. For many, the cost could be significantly higher. University officials asked for surgery coverage up to $100,000 per individual.

The fact that student gender-reassignment coverage is occurring on so many campuses shows how quickly social values are changing. And history shows that trends that begin on college campuses eventually make their way to the rest of society.

Transgender advocates hope that the Affordable Care Act, which prevents insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, will eventually force insurers to pay for gender reassignments. State insurance commissioners in Oregon, California, Vermont, Colorado and Washington, d.c., have said that under Obamacare’s provisions a person’s gender identity cannot be a reason to deny coverage. Soon you too may have to pay for gender-reassignment surgery—if you want to keep your health insurance.

The Government’s Plan to Police Newsrooms

America’s news stations are so bad that the government needs to step in and make sure Americans get the news they need. Before February 21, this was the position of the Obama administration. That was when the Federal Communications Commission (fcc) came under intense criticism for its plan to put government observers into radio stations, television and even newspaper newsrooms to make sure Americans were getting the “critical news.”

The fcc said it wanted to examine “the process by which stories are selected,” how well stations cover “critical information needs,” if there is “perceived station bias” and how responsive stations are to “underserved” minority populations.

Ajit Pai, a commissioner with the fcc and now a whistle-blower, warned in the Wall Street Journal that the plan involved grilling “reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run” (February 10). Pai questioned whether it was a thinly veiled effort to wade into office politics, look for angry reporters whose story ideas were rejected, and use this as evidence of wrongdoing and conspiracy in the media. The concern was that this “evidence” would then be used as blunt-force weapon to coerce media outlets into “voluntarily” complying with how the political appointees at the fcc thinks news stories should be covered.

Since the fcc determines whether or not television and radio get licenses, “voluntary” isn’t really voluntary.

Pai compared this move to the now-abandoned “fairness doctrine” by which the government decided whether or not radio station programming was politically balanced and fair. If a station wasn’t considered “fair,” its license was revoked and given to someone else.

Former New Jersey Superior Court Judge Andrew Napolitano called the fcc plan “a radical new era of tyranny for the White House.” National Review compared it to the irs scandal by which the agency targeted Tea Party and conservative groups.

America’s Founders knew the importance of the freedom of the press, and guaranteed it with the First Amendment. But that provision was meant to secure the liberty not only of the media—but also of the country. America’s founders knew that a free press was a check on totalitarianism because it holds leaders accountable to the people they represent. As long as the press is free and individuals are allowed to express their views, it is a check on government.

Due to the uproar, the fcc plan was postponed on February 21. But the fact that the fcc even considered putting government observers in newsrooms says a lot about the administration, its regard for the Constitution, and its motives.