Monday, March 26, 2012

J.B. Van Hollen says Republican Legislature should make medical decisions, not doctors. U.S. Supreme Court Disagrees!!

Boy, the courts are in the news today. The following case is another instance where Wisconsin Republicans tried insert big government regulations between a patient and their doctor. Even the conservative activist U.S. Supreme Court didn't believe what they were hearing:
Imperial AG Van Hollen
jsonline: The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider reinstating a Wisconsin law that banned hormone treatments or sex-change surgeries for transgender prison inmates. The justices rejected the state's appeal of a ruling that the 2006 Wisconsin law, by withholding treatments that prison doctors deem medically necessary, violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments. "Refusing to provide effective treatment for a serious medical condition serves no valid penological purpose and amounts to torture," the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. "Just as the legislature cannot outlaw all effective cancer treatments for prison inmates, it cannot outlaw the only effective treatment for a serious condition" such as gender identity disorder.
Never letting the constitution, or even sound medical treatments get the way of ideology, here’s what Wisconsin AG J.B. Van Hollen put out as his “legal” argument:
The state's high court appeal said gender identity disorder is a "psychological condition" and the Legislature was within its authority to say treatment should be limited to "psychotherapy, antipsychotics and antidepressants." The Eighth Amendment "does not prohibit prison officials, prison medical personnel and, most certainly, a state legislature, from denying a small, controversial subset of the wide variety of treatment available for a particular diagnosis."
Get that; "the legislature was within its authority to say treatment should be limited." Isn't this one of the Republican arguments against the Affordable Care Act's IPAB is all about? “Unaccountable bureaucrats should never have the power to deny you the care you deserve.” Hypocrites!

But just as crazy, Republicans are okay with constitutional violations if it only effects “a small, controversial subset” of people. Of course the legislature would know than the doctors that say hormonal treatments are necessary. Is this just another example of big government health care rationing?
"There was no evidence controverting the testimony of numerous witnesses that, for some people" with severe gender identity disorder, "psychotherapy or psychotropic medication alone" is "simply not effective," lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said, representing the inmates. Lawyers for the inmates said doctors in the Wisconsin prison system were the ones who diagnosed the inmates and prescribed the hormone treatments as medically necessary.

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