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Friday, May 30, 2014

Medicare Lifts Ban On Sex Reassignment Surgery

Posted by on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 4:27 PM

The Washington Post reports:

The Obama administration on Friday ended a 33-year ban on Medicare coverage for gender reassignment surgery — a major victory for transgender rights and a decision that is likely to put pressure on more insurers to provide coverage for such services.

The ruling by a Department of Health and Human Services board was in response to a lawsuit filed last year on behalf of Denee Mallon, 74, a transgender woman and army veteran from Albuquerque.

And this week, Laverne Cox became the first transgender person to grace the cover of TIME. "We are in a place now where more and more trans people want to come forward and say 'This is who I am,'" Cox told the magazine. "We are the reason. And we are setting the agenda in a different way."


Comments (11) RSS

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Banna 1
And this week, Laverne Cox became the first transgender person to grace the cover of TIME...that we know of.

Always leave room for the possible.
Posted by Banna on May 30, 2014 at 7:55 PM · Report this
Fantastic name
Posted by Reader01 on May 30, 2014 at 8:13 PM · Report this
Obviously I'd rather everyone is getting this right away, but at least this means poor trans people might be getting some help.
Posted by Spike1382 on May 30, 2014 at 8:53 PM · Report this
as a father of a recently outed trans daughter this gives me so much hope.
Posted by garumph on May 30, 2014 at 10:07 PM · Report this
Dr. Z 5
Wonderful news.
Posted by Dr. Z on May 30, 2014 at 10:20 PM · Report this
@3 Medicare has nothing to do with income. It's the program for people who are senior citizens or permanently disabled. Medicaid covers those who are impoverished (although often it is very limited as to who can receive it, which is why there recently were Medicaid expansions in many states). Surgeries for body dysmorphia still aren't covered by Medicaid. However, we can hope that they will be eventually. The real importance is how many insurance companies justify excluding things by saying, "Well, Medicare doesn't cover that..." and now they can't do that to transgender people.
Posted by uncreative on May 30, 2014 at 10:52 PM · Report this
HandlebarWallace 7
Wow! This is major news. Obama is getting a few in on his way out the door, nice work. Ok, they got sued first but at least they folded with dignity.
Posted by HandlebarWallace on May 31, 2014 at 3:49 AM · Report this
Dr. Z 8
@6: Insurance companies aren't involved in traditional Medicare. They only get involved if the consumer purchases a Medigap policy (which covers some things traditional Medicare doesn't) or a Medicare Advantage policy (which replaces traditional Medicare entirely.) In both Medigap and MA you can shop around for coverage and switch policies if you don't like your coverage.

So really, this is a matter for CMS to decide, not insurance companies. The latter are tightly regulated by CMS (the feds.)
Posted by Dr. Z on May 31, 2014 at 9:55 AM · Report this
9 Comment Pulled (Trolling) Comment Policy
collectivism_sucks 10
As a libertarian I may be against things like medicaid and medicare, but if they do exist for God's sake at least make them fair. This is great news and is one more step in the direction of transgender rights and human rights in general.
Posted by collectivism_sucks on May 31, 2014 at 2:14 PM · Report this
@8 You clearly completely misunderstood what I wrote. When insurance companies choose what to cover and what to exclude - when they design their policies - they often look to Medicare as a guide. When people complain that big health insurance plan X does not cover Y, they often use the PR excuse that Medicare doesn't either. Which is why having Medicare cover it is important, even if it won't actually directly help many people.
Posted by uncreative on May 31, 2014 at 7:38 PM · Report this

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