Under Wisconsin’s current Medicaid program, reassignment surgery for transgender patients is not covered, a fact that has many in the LGBT community absolutely furious.
In response to what many feel is unfair exclusion, a lawsuit by two residents has been filed against the state health department.
The lawsuit states that excluding transgender reassignment surgery “flies in the face of the medical consensus that gender-confirming medical care is the only safe and effective medical treatment for gender dysphoria, and wholly disregards the harms of denying transgender people access to critical and often life-saving care.”
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Cody Flack and Sara Makenzie. Flack is a 30-year-old transgender man, and Makenzie is a 41-year-old transgender woman.
Both of them rely on federal benefits for their basic needs, including health care. They both have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, meaning they have been diagnosed as having a gender identity that conflicts with their biological sex.
They have already gone through some gender transitions such as hormone therapy, and want to get gender reassignment surgery, having received recommendations from their doctors to do so in order to “alleviate their ongoing symptoms of gender dysphoria.”
Neither of them can afford the out-of-pocket cost for gender reassignment surgery, but a state regulation “expressly prohibits Wisconsin Medicaid coverage for ‘transsexual surgery’ or ‘drugs, including hormone therapy, associated with transsexual surgery or medically unnecessary alterations of sexual anatomy or characteristics.”
The two residents claim that excluding this procedure violates the comparability and availability requirements of the Medicaid program, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and the Affordable Care Act.
The hope is that the lawsuit will result in the exclusion of gender reassignment surgery from being covered in the Medicaid program being labeled discriminatory, leading to an injunction that will keep the state from enforcing the exclusion.
Oh, and of course, they are seeking some cash for damages related to “economic and non-economic injuries arising from being denied medically necessary health care coverage.”
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