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Gov. Little is correct: Inmate’s surgery would cost taxpayers

Gov. Little is correct: Inmate’s surgery would cost taxpayers

Wayne Hoffman
September 13, 2019
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September 13, 2019

If you are easily triggered, this column may not be for you. Momentarily, I will defend Gov. Brad Little’s appeal of a court ruling that has the media racing to the side of an Idaho prison inmate and his elective surgery.

You’ve been warned. 

The media contend that surgery for convicted child molester Adree Edmo won’t cost taxpayers anything and that the governor is wrong to suggest otherwise. But the governor is quite correct: taxpayers will pay for Edmo’s surgery and elective sex-change operations to come. And the price could be far more costly than people realize. 

Edmo demands taxpayers cover the cost of an operation that would remove his testicles and sculpt a vagina onto his body. That surgery is expected to cost between $20,000 and $30,000.  

Reporters like to point out that Idaho has a contract with prison medical provider Corizon, and articles and commentaries argue that Edmo’s surgery comes gratis as part of the contract. But that contract’s cost has been escalating for years and there’s no end in sight. Five years ago, the state paid $14.66 per inmate per day for Corizon’s medical care. Now it’s $17.56 per inmate per day, an increase of about 20 percent. During the last fiscal year, the Corizon contract cost taxpayers $45.4 million. If the court’s Edmo decision is upheld, Corizon, or any other prison medical provider, will demand more money from the state to account for the expected increase in the utilization of healthcare services, above the annual increases taxpayers are already absorbing. 

More worrisome is that Idaho, at least so far, does not pay for sex-change operations via Medicaid, the state-federal program for low-income residents. An activist group that researched the topics says 19 states’ taxpayers do pay for such elective surgeries; the organization insists that the procedure is medically necessary. If the Edmo decision is given time to fully manifest as a health necessity, you can imagine a point at which the Medicaid entitlement program would be required to similarly cover the operation. If nothing else, supporters of extending the procedure to the list of covered services will correctly note that prison inmates have access to medical benefits that Medicaid clients do not.  

Yet, countless journalists and pundits these days seem to be in love with transgenderism, and are twisting themselves in knots to embrace the resulting revisionist reality that is sympathetic to Edmo’s case. 

It is political correctness that forces news writers to pound out dizzyingly nonsensical sentences about Edmo: articles refer to Edmo as “her” even though Edmo is biologically male and his sex organs remain intact. Edmo “tried to castrate herself” while in prison. Wut? No, she didn’t. He did. “She had sexual relations with a minor.” No, she didn’t. He did. Indeed, the prisoner wasn’t living as a woman when the incident occurred. 

You can bet, if this were an inmate wanting his arms removed so that he could identify as a fish, the media wouldn’t race to the prisoner’s defense and wouldn’t go through such mental gymnastics to bend the truth. At least one would hope not. 

Libertarians like me couldn’t care less if people want to modify their own bodies on their own dime or change their name, appearance, or clothing to suit their purposes, so long as “it doesn’t break my leg or pick my pocket,” as we like to say. 

Edmo will be out of prison in just two years. If he so desires, he can pay for the operation himself. Or, perhaps, he can run a GoFundMe to which journalists, pundits, family members, and others can donate. Edmo’s sexual abuse of a child, a heinous act of force, is what landed him in prison to begin with. Now, he proposes the use of force again, extracting money from taxpayers, which necessarily includes his original victim, to finance an elective procedure. Maybe it will make Edmo happy, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us should be.

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