- Rachel Levine, now Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, communicated with and encouraged various groups that were fighting against Pennsylvania legislation that would have blocked taxpayer funding for child sex changes in 2017, according to emails and social media posts.
- Levine was pictured with LGBT activists earlier that year, who claimed to have met with Levine to fight for taxpayer funding for child sex changes.
- “Gender-affirming surgeries will be unattainable for many transgender people who need them, depriving them of lasting concordance with their gendered self and enhanced psychological wellbeing and overall health,” a letter from two plastic surgeon groups to state lawmakers read; one surgeon shared the letter with Levine, who thanked him and said it was “great.”
Rachel Levine, who is now Assistant Secretary for Health in the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), communicated and huddled with opponents of a Pennsylvania bill that would have blocked taxpayer funding for child sex changes in 2017, according to social media posts and emails reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Pennsylvania House Bill 1933 would have ended taxpayer funding for cross-sex medical treatments for minors, but the bill failed to pass following vocal opposition from activists and groups of plastic surgeons who communicated with Levine, according to emails obtained by parental rights activist Megan Brock through a documents request and shared with the DCNF. Levine, who at the time was the state’s acting secretary of health, thanked University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Plastic Surgery Chief Joseph Losee for a letter he had shared in opposition to HB 1933 on behalf of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the Robert H. Ivy Pennsylvania Society of Plastic Surgeons.
“This is great. Thank you very much,” Levine wrote in an email to Losee after Losee shared it with Levine and Sarah Boateng, who at the time was executive deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health. (RELATED: ‘Labia Minora Were Turning Black’: Sex Change Patients Reported Serious Health Problems After Surgeries, Study Finds)
The letter urged members of the Pennsylvania Legislature to vote against HB 1933, arguing that denying children access to “gender affirming” plastic surgeries would rob them of health and well-being. The presidents of the ASPS and the Ivy Society signed the letter, and Losee shared it with Levine on Dec. 4, 2017, the day the letter was dated; it is unclear what role Losee played in orchestrating the letter.
🚨 2017 emails show UPMC Pediatric Plastic Surgery Chief worked in cooperation with Rachel Levine to oppose bill that defunded trans treatments for minors.
“Gender-affirming surgeries will be unattainable for many transgender people who need them, depriving them..” pic.twitter.com/6vOSl2PeuN
— Megan Brock (@MegEBrock) January 16, 2023
“Gender-affirming surgeries will be unattainable for many transgender people who need them, depriving them of lasting concordance with their gendered self and enhanced psychological wellbeing and overall health,” the letter read. “Care of individuals with gender dysphoria requires a multidisciplinary approach that may include mental health professionals, primary care physicians, endocrinologists and plastic surgeons. The breadth of the process demands comprehensive coverage from third party payers, and it is well within the scope of procedures that programs like Medical Assistance and CHIP should be ensuring access to.”
Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health coverage to families that don’t qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford health coverage otherwise.
“In fact, the multidisciplinary approach to gender confirmation allows for a program like CHIP to grant patients access to the counseling and hormonal therapy services that all underage gender confirmation candidates should complete prior to undergoing actual surgical reconstruction,” the letter said.
Other activists suggested Levine was part of the effort to stop the bill from being passed: Levine met and posed for pictures with members of Pennsylvania Youth Congress, an LGBT organization, in October 2017, according to the group’s Instagram post; the meeting was part of the “effort to stop the ban on trans youth healthcare under CHIP,” according to a 2021 Instagram post sharing the same image while advocating for Levine’s confirmation in the Biden administration.
The advocacy group Equality Pennsylvania had also copied Levine in an email to legislators with a letter of opposition to HB 1933 attached, according to the same batch of emails obtained by Brock. All emails from Levine regarding HB 1933, aside from thank-you emails, were completely redacted.
Pennsylvania has spent at least $16.7 million on child gender transitions since 2015, with annual spending soaring from about $70,000 in 2015 to more than $3.9 million in 2021, according to Pennsylvania Family Council.
Levine, Losee and UPMC did not respond to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
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