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Tipsheet

This State Is Looking to Expand Medicaid Coverage for Irreversible Transgender Surgeries for Children

New legislation pushed by Maryland Democrats would expand taxpayer-funded Medicaid coverage to include irreversible transgender surgeries and drugs for minors. 

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The Trans Health Equity Act upends a prohibition on this type of treatment for Medicaid recipients under age 18, including hormone therapy treatments, puberty blockers, and irreversible gender mutilation surgery, according to The Washington Post.

“We should not be in the business of telling low-income or impoverished people that they don’t deserve access to the same level of care that every other Maryland resident has access to,” Del. Kris Fair, a Democrat who is the chair of the LGBTQ+ Caucus, said. “Current political environments across the country are pushing back against the idea that people have the right to identify as transgender. This will simply reaffirm Maryland’s commitment to its trans community.”

The measure passed the Maryland House of Delegates 93-39 and went to Democratic Gov. Wes Moore’s desk. The Associated Press noted that the bill includes coverage for hair alteration, voice modification, “alterations to the abdomen, trunk, face and neck and fertility preservation services.” It will take effect Jan. 1.

Catholic News Agency reported Monday that Republicans fought to include amendments that would have prohibited Medicaid from covering gender mutilation procedures, dubbed by the left as “sex reassignment surgeries” for kids, such as mastectomies. And, an amendment proposed by Republicans, which was shot down, would have required both parents to consent before these kinds of surgeries can be performed. 

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“It is truly heartbreaking that lawmakers approved radical, often experimental, surgeries and medical castration to children under 18 years old. And taxpayers foot the bill,” Republican Del. Kathy Szeliga said in a statement to the outlet.

Another Republican, Del. Ryan Nawrocki, echoed Szeliga’s concerns. 

“Never in human history have there been experiments on children at this scale,” Nawrocki said in a statement to CNA. “Some in the medical community are experimenting on children with surgeries and pharmaceuticals that often leave children sterile. We are also seeing efforts in Annapolis to exclude parents from mental and physical health treatments given to their children who question their gender.”

Other states, like Tennessee, South Dakota, and Utah, have created legislation outlawing these types of procedures for children. Some states, like Missouri and Texas, are investigating the hospitals that provide these services. 

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