Monday, August 28, 2006

In praise of speed bumps

I know that journalists have to report on both sides in order to claim objectivity or balance for their work. And I realize that whenever there is any law is proposed, someone must oppose it, if only for form's sake.

But I have to admit: the "con" side reported in this article doesn't strike me as particularly cogent.

The difference between therapeutic or reconstructive surgery and elective or (merely) cosmetic surgery is well-established, in theory, practice, and insurance codes. I find it hard to believe that the law being proposed would somehow eliminate this long-standing distinction to the detriment of those who actually need care. The proposals on the table put procedural speed bumps in the way of minors seeking elective surgery. Not even roadblocks--speed bumps.

I can't fathom the person who can't tell the difference between a sixteen-year-old seeking reconstructive surgery after a radical mastectomy and a sixteen-year-old seeking breast implants in order to make the cheerleading squad. The proposed law does not even keep the latter from doing it; nor does it take away her parents' authority to direct her medical care. It just says, "Whoa. Slow down." (Honestly, she needs someone to tell her that her wellbeing does not, in fact, depend on those implants. If her parents don't, perhaps the shrink will.)

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