Readers continue to debate the topic:
Private insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to deny any surgery performed by a plastic surgeon. I just put down $8,000 of my own and raised $4,500 from friends and family to pay for a breast reduction that I’ve been denied three times in 10 years by three different insurance companies. And ask parents how hard cleft palate surgeries are to get covered. In a time where skyrocketing costs are cutting into insurance profits, they will do whatever they can get away with to reduce their payments to providers. If they can call it cosmetic (in my case this determination was done with no transparency by a board of non-physicians) they can deny it, and the popular opinion of plastic surgery gives them cover.
Personally I think it all comes back to how fucked up our health paradigm is. We treat illness instead of treating for wellness. We ask whether you are sick enough to need intervention instead of asking what wellness would look like for you and trying to get there. Plastic surgeons don’t really fit the paradigm, with one notable exception: reconstruction after mastectomy. Unpack that one alongside trans top surgery and tell me you don’t see a double standard.
Another has a very different perspective:
Andrew, I find it hard to believe you (a conservative?) could even remotely consider transgender surgery a “health condition” that society should consider worthy of financial support. Never mind the lazy (but valid) arguments about where the trans justification leads us: “I really feel that I was born a big dick kind of guy; unfortunately, my testosterone levels were a bit low during puberty. My HMO should pay for my enlargement surgery.” We need to narrow the definition of healthcare, not expand it, in order to ensure basic coverage for everyone.