Saturday, December 19, 2015
Should the taxpayer be required to pay for what is essentially cosmetic surgery? Let him pay for it himself. The money should be spent on people with real medical issues.
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The state of Minnesota is facing a lawsuit over its healthcare policy involving gender reassignment surgery.
63-year-old Evan Thomas and gay rights advocacy group Outfront Minnesota have filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Human Services which oversees state health insurance plans.
The legislature passed a law back in 2005 that bans public health programs from covering the procedures.
"I want this statute to go away. So that people can access the care they need," said Thomas.
Thomas was born a woman but now identifies as a man, also known as gender dysphoria.
He attempted to have his breasts removed in April but was denied coverage of the procedure because his state-run insurance doesn't allow it.
For about 30 years, the state did cover the procedure before lawmakers changed that 10 years ago.
"It's a six word statute, sex reassignment surgery is not covered, and we believe that's an unconstitutional act by the legislature," said Phil Duran, an attorney with OutFront Minnesota.
"It really is time for this to change," added Thomas. "That's a level of discomfort that really has persisted all my life, just a deep sense that there was something wrong with me."
The Department of Human Services would not go on camera but in a short statement a spokesperson wrote, "We have received the lawsuit, which challenges current state law. We are now reviewing the complaint."
While some may believe the surgery is not necessary, the complaint argues it is.
It reads that leading medical groups including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association states "gender dysphoria is a serious medical condition, and that treatment for gender dysphoria is medically necessary for many transgender people. "
"What's critical for us is to make sure the Minnesota law does not provide a barrier," said Duran.