Chicago Rabbis Seek Health Plan Payments for Ritual Circumcisions

The Chicago Rabbinical Council disclosed today that it was negotiating with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield hospital and medical plans to provide payments for ritual circumcisions when performed by a licensed mohel approved by hospitals.

The negotiations were undertaken at the suggestion of Rabbi Alvin I. Kleinerman. He asserted that doctors in Chicago were seeking to persuade parents of Jewish boys to have circumcisions performed by them, rather than by a mohel, “as an economy measure,” since mohelim are not recognized by Blue Cross and Blue Shield for benefit payments.

Negotiations are being conducted by Rabbi Moses Mescheloff, chairman of the rabbinical group’s community relations commission. Rabbi Mescheloff said that, in recent years. Blue Shield had relaxed its rules to pay for surgical work performed by dentists and podiatrists, and that the rabbinical group felt the plan might also include ritual circumcisers in the same special category.

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