Here We Go: Federal Judge Rules Wisconsin Medicaid Must Cover Gender Reassignment Surgeries

A federal judge has overturned a 1997 Wisconsin provision banning Medicaid payments for gender reassignment surgery and hormone treatments. U.S. District Judge William Conley handed down the ruling Aug. 16, after issuing an injunction against the state’s Department of Health Services last year.

The 22-year-old Medicaid amendment, challenged by four plaintiffs, excluded coverage for “drugs, including hormone therapy, associated with transsexual surgery,” deeming them “medically unnecessary,” according to Courthouse News Service. Wisconsin’s Medicaid program is jointly funded by state and federal money.

The plaintiffs—three transgender women and a transgender man—filed suit against the state arguing that gender-confirming treatment was necessary due to “gender dysphoria,” a condition in which a patient does not identify with their biological sex at birth. They alleged that the exclusion violated the Affordable Care Act, the Medicaid Act and both the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

“There is now a consensus within the medical profession that gender dysphoria is a serious medical condition, which if left untreated or inadequately treated can cause adverse symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, serious mental distress, self-harm and suicidal ideation,” Conley wrote in his ruling.

The judge determined the state’s Medicaid exemption discriminated on the basis of sex under the federal Affordable Care Act. Wisconsin is one of nine states that have explicit Medicaid exclusions for gender-confirming treatments, according to Conley’s ruling.

Friday’s 28-page decision made permanent a preliminary injunction Conley issued in July 2018 ordering the state to cover the plaintiff’s sex-reassignment surgeries. In his final decision, Conley wrote, “the court found defendants’ argument less than persuasive before and that has not changed.”

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Source: Christian Headlines