April 19, 2012
Colorado Senate's budget debate includes circumcisions, ATMs at strip clubsBy Tim Hoover
The Colorado Senate gave initial approval Wednesday night to a $19 billion state budget after a debate that touched on funding infant circumcisions for the poor and whether state welfare ATM cards can be used at strip clubs.
One of the most impassioned debates Wednesday was over infant circumcisions for Medicaid-eligible families. The state eliminated the funding last year, and Sen. Joyce Foster, D-Denver, wanted to restore the program at a cost of $194,986.
Emotional at times, Foster said low-income families that have to pay up to $400 for the procedure usually skip it.
"Because they're poor, they have no choice," she said. [So then the babies and later men do.]
Lambert said circumcision is an optional procedure that not everyone agrees is medically advisable.
"This is also one of those areas where private charities and private donations are possible," he said.
The amendment failed.
[Clarification: What the Colorado Senate refused to pass was an amendment to the annual appropriations bill to restore Medicaid funding for circumcision. This is a separate bill from SB12-090 which would require Colorado Medicaid to cover newborn circumcisions. SB12-090 is still on the table. The Senate Appropriations Committee hearing for SB12-090 is next Tuesday. If the Appropriations Committee passes the bill, it will go to the full Senate next and then to the House.]