Supreme Court Upholds Decision That Medicaid Must Cover Women’s Sex Reassignment Surgery
The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the argument that the policy's explicit exclusion of gender-reassignment surgeries was merely a specified example within the broader category of "cosmetic, reconstructive, and plastic surgeries" that were excluded from coverage was invalid. "The [department] expressly denied Good and Beal coverage for their surgical procedures because they were 'related to transsexualism ... (or) gender identity disorders' and 'for the purpose of sex reassignment,'" Justice Susan Christensen wrote, citing segments of the policy.
The Associated Press:
Iowa Court: Medicaid Can Cover Sex Reassignment Surgery
The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday upheld a lower court's ruling that the state cannot deny two transgender women Medicaid coverage for sex reassignment surgery. The state's high court agreed with Judge Arthur Gamble's ruling in June that a 1995 Iowa Department of Human Services policy denying Medicaid coverage for sex reassignment surgery violates the state's 2007 Civil Rights Act, which added gender identity to the state's list of protected classes. (3/8)
Des Moines Register:
Iowa Supreme Court: Transgender Iowans Can Use Medicaid For Surgery.
The court’s unanimous decision struck down the administrative code governing Medicaid in Iowa that classifies transition-related surgeries as "cosmetic, reconstructive or plastic surgery" and explicitly bans "surgeries for the purpose of sex reassignment." Transgender surgeries can range from $20,000 to $100,000, putting it out of reach of individuals who qualify for the assistance. In affirming a district judge's decision, Justice Susan Christensen wrote that the “express ban on Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming surgical procedures” contradicted the gender-identity protections in the Iowa Civil Rights Act. (Crowder and Nozicka, 3/8)
In other Medicaid news —
The Washington Post:
District Residents Say Cuts In Medicaid Home Care Hours Leave Them Vulnerable
For decades, Leah Graham was a pillar in her neighborhood in Southeast Washington, tending her vegetable garden, helping sick neighbors, baking her signature strawberry cake with icing made of confectioners’ sugar and strawberry Kool-Aid. Now 108, Graham has dementia and is too frail to leave her bed, but neighbors still stop by, as do her granddaughter and great-grandson, who live 10 minutes away. She became bedridden at 104 but has been able to stay in the house she’s lived in for more than 40 years because she has been eligible to have a caregiver in her home 24 hours a day through the Elderly and Persons with Physical Disabilities (EPD) Medicaid Waiver program. (Bahrampour, 3/8)