Leftists Pushing HHS to Pay for Sex-Change Operations Under Medicare

The latest edition of the gay newspaper The Washington Blade displayed what liberal newspapers don't find controversial: "Medicare to examine ban on gender reassignment." In other words, leftists are pushing the Obama administration to subsidize sex-change operations. We're posting enormous deficits, but the "progressives" are always searching for new entitlements.

As usual, liberal journalists refer to this lack of "access" to taxpayer money a "ban." Chris Johnson reported: "The document from the Department of Health & Human Services, dated Dec. 2, finds that the reasoning for the ban is 'not complete and adequate'  to support denying Medicare coverage for transgender people seeking the procedure."

The HHS Department Appeals Board states the ban -- which is codified as National Coverage Determination 140.3 -- "fails to account for development in the care and treatment" for transgender people over the course of the last 30 years....

Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, was optimistic the ban would be lifted following the discovery process.

"Current Medicare standards are based on science from the 1960s, so it's about time for a review," Davis said. "Because the current scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that sex-reassignment surgeries are effective and medically necessary treatments for some transgender individuals, we are hopeful the board will find the exclusion is not supported.

The DAB initiated the review of the ban on Medicare-provided gender reassignment surgery in response to a request filed in March by a quartet of LGBT advocates: the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders and civil rights attorney Mary Lou Boelcke.

The challenge was filed on behalf of Denee Mallon, a 73-year-old transgender woman in Albuquerque, N.M. A Medicare recipient, Mallon was recommended to have gender reassignment surgery by doctors to treat her gender dysphoria.


In a joint statement provided to the Washington Blade in response to the HHS memorandum, the ACLU, NCLR and GLAD expressed optimism that DAB would come to the conclusion after discovery that the ban on Medicare-provided gender reassignment surgery should be lifted.

“Because the current evidence overwhelmingly shows that sex-reassignment surgeries are effective and medically necessary treatments for some individuals with gender dysphoria, we are hopeful the Board will find the exclusion is not supported,” the statement says.

The Blade story also noted "the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association support gender reassignment surgery for transgender people as a means to treat gender identity disorder."

The Obama administration is staying passive. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services didn’t put up a fight in response to the request from the libertine-left advocates to subsidize sex changes. CMS notified the appeals board in June that it wouldn’t submit a response, yea or nay.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis