American health care costs could be snipped significantly if the fall in circumcision rates was reversed, a new study claims. Around 55% of baby boys in the US are circumcised (down from 79% three decades ago), and 18 states have reduced funding for the procedure. If levels fall to Europe's 10%, it would cost the health-care system $4.4 billion over a decade to treat the projected rise in urinary tract infections in babies and HIV infections in men, the researchers say. "The state governments think we can save a few bucks, but it ends up costing them more in the long run," the lead researcher tells Reuters.
A circumcision costs insurers up to $300, but extra health care costs will average $313 for every "foregone" circumcision, according to the researchers, who based their estimates on a recent study in Uganda. The chief of the anti-circumcision group Intact America, however, argues that the figures in the study are "trash" and the health benefits of male circumcision are unproven. "Commonwealth and European countries where male circumcision is rare have equal-to or better health status than the US," she tells the Huffington Post. (Read more circumcision stories.)