Obama admin considers Medicare, Medicaid coverage for sex change surgeries

Vince Coglianese Editorial Director
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Under a new proposal, sex change operations may soon be covered by taxpayers through Medicare and Medicaid.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, a federal agency that administers those services, has opened a 30-day public comment period on the proposal to have taxpayers cover “surgical treatment for gender identity disorder.”

“CMS opens this reconsideration of the NCD on Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder. Section 140.3 of the NCD Manual. The initial 30-day public comment period begins with this posting date, and ends after 30 calendar days. CMS considers all public comments, and is particularly interested in clinical studies and other scientific information relevant to the topic under review,” the announcement reads.

“Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder (formerly referred to as transsexual surgery in 140.3) is currently noncovered under the Medicare Part A and Part B programs. The existing policy, which became effective in 1981, states that transsexual surgery is considered experimental,” the announcement continues.

Supporters of government funded sex change operations argue that the surgeries are not experimental and are a required procedure for those afflicted with gender identity disorder.

“These reconstructive procedures are not optional in any meaningful sense, but are understood to be medically necessary for the treatment of the diagnosed condition,” reads a statement from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.

Estimates for the cost of sex change operations range wildly, from as low as $15,000 to as high as $100,000 depending on the number of procedures performed.

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