A Boston anti-circumcision activist will be allowed to try to make his case before a jury that state-funded circumcisions are a waste of taxpayer money.
In a ruling last week, a Suffolk Superior Court judge rejected a request by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to completely dismiss a suit by anti-circumcision activist Ronald Goldman over the way the state MassHealth program now pays for what he considers medically unnecessary circumcisions.
Judge Robert Gordon did agree with state attorneys that Goldman could not sue under federal Medicaid regulations, but added that Goldman's suit - which he brought with 27 other Massachusetts residents - could continue under a Massachusetts law that lets its citizens sue over what they consider wastes of state taxpayer money.
In addition to stopping payments for circumcisions done for religious or cosmetic reasons, Goldman wants the state to set up an "institutional review board" to ensure only medically necessary circumcisions are performed and to initiate disciplinary action against any doctors or health-care facilities that try to get MassHealth funding for procedures that aren't medically necessary.
Goldman, founder of the Circumcision Resource Center, which is against the practice, raised money through a GoFundMe page to sue MassHealth last year, several years after MassHealth rejected his request and told him the procedure does have health benefits.
In his ruling, Gordon noted that rulings by federal courts - including the Supreme Court - have held that federal Medicaid regulations preclude private lawsuits over the way governmental agencies spend their Medicaid money.
No such similar bans, however, exist for the state law on wasteful government spending when it comes to regulations specifically written by Massachusetts agencies, such as MassHealth, Gordon continued.
And because of that, Goldman can make his case to a jury that the way Masshealth approves payment for all neo-natal circumcisions without a review currently should be stopped, Gordon ruled.
Gordon took no action on Goldman's request, at least for now, for an injunction to stop MassHealth-funded circumcisions while the case is pending.