Monday, August 20, 2007

In Brazil Sex Change Operations are Free

Brazil's public health system will begin providing free sex-change operations in compliance with a court order, the Health Ministry said Friday.
Ministry spokesman Edmilson Oliveira da Silva said the government would not appeal Wednesday's ruling by a panel of federal judges giving the government 30 days to offer the procedure or face fines of US$5,000 (€3,700) a day.

"The health minister was prompted by the judges' decision," Silva said. "But we already had a technical group studying the procedure with the idea of including it among the procedures that are covered."

Federal prosecutors from Rio Grande do Sul state had argued that sexual reassignment surgery is covered under a constitutional clause guaranteeing medical care as a basic right.
Does Brazil have the type of care that we can receive here in the United States? I would say not for the free services but if you have the money to pay for medical care then the care is good.
Brazil's public health system offers free care to all Brazilians, including a variety of surgeries and free AIDS medication. But long lines and poorly equipped facilities mean that those who can afford it usually choose to pay for private hospitals and clinics.
I have always beleived the road to quality health care for all resides in an expansion of the Medicare system to include all citizens. It is why I support HR 676 which would provide for single payer health care for all.

Can you imagine the oputcry from the religious right if we were to approve all sexual reassignment surgery? Brazil may be a developing nation but it seems light years ahead in its social positions on issues of sexuality. It is one of the best countries on earth for AIDS policy as shown with its policy of free AIDS medications for its citizens. Is Brazil perfect for health care, of course not but maybe we could learn a lesson or two from them. It is time that Americans understand that our health care system is failing us. We rank 37 in the world in health care delviery and 42 in life expectnacy but first in per capita cost. Those are all alarming but true statistics.

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