Following a 1999 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which said that the health benefits of circumcision were not significant enough to make the procedure mandatory, Medicaid programs began dropping coverage. Ever since, new parents in 16 states have been discovering that getting it done anyway will run about $300. According to a January report by researchers at UCLA, the cost has had a serious impact: the circumcision rate in states offering coverage for it is, on average, 24 percent higher than in the states that don't. And that's based on data only through 2004, the most current year available; with unemployment rising and more Americans turning to public insurance, the disparity can be expected to grow. "The $300 is a luxury," says Dr. Andrew Freedman, director of pediatric urology at L.A.'s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "For many people [it] is an insurmountable barrier."
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