Lawsuit challenges state’s Medicaid policy denying transgender-related health care coverage

A transgender girl is suing the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services commissioner for denying transition-related health care coverage beneath Medicaid. The lawsuit, which seeks to be class motion, was filed in federal court docket on Monday. The go well with argues that prohibiting coverage for gender reassignment surgical procedure and hormone remedy is discriminatory and unlawful.

Homer resident Swan Being depends on Medicaid for a few of her health care bills. In January, her physician requested that Medicaid pay for Being to journey from Homer to Anchorage so she might obtain hormone injections and lab work associated to her gender reassignment. But Being mentioned that request was denied.

“I was real shocked when that happened and dismayed,” she mentioned. “I need my care. It’s life or death.”

Though Being says she depends on completely different insurances, she mentioned she hasn’t had an issue getting coverage for hormone remedy till this yr. Attorney Jim Davis, with the Northern Justice Project, represents Being.

The Northern Justice Project can be representing plaintiffs suing the Sitka Police Department on discrimination allegations and the plaintiff who’s alleging unfair assortment of gross sales tax by advertising firm LuLaRoe.

Davis mentioned if Being doesn’t get this therapy, she’ll face damaging penalties.

“The only reason the state denied it is because of a regulation that said you can’t have any Medicaid treatment for gender dysphoria, no matter what your doctors say,” Davis mentioned.

According to the Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit assume tank that advocates for LGBT equality, Alaska is one in every of 11 states with a Medicaid program that explicitly excludes transgender health care coverage.

Davis mentioned Alaska’s regulation that prohibits coverage for transgender therapy companies beneath Medicaid violates the equal safety legislation beneath the 14th Amendment.

“Which provides all people need to be treated equally,” Davis mentioned. “If some people are eligible to get medically necessary treatment and others aren’t simply because we don’t like the treatment they’re getting or we don’t agree with their conditions: that’s illegal.”

Davis mentioned the regulation additionally violates equal therapy beneath the Medicaid Act. He provides that he expects there are greater than forty transgender residents in Alaska who’re eligible to affix the case in opposition to the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum.

There have been related challenges to rules denying transgender-related health care throughout the nation, together with in Minnesota.

“So in that case, the federal court struck down the regulation,” Davis mentioned. “We expect the same thing is going to happen in our case.”

The Department of Health and Social Services mentioned it has not been served with the lawsuit and declined to remark.

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