West Virginia Judge Rules Medicaid Must Cover Transgender Surgeries

This week, U.S. District Judge Robert Chambers determined that transgender patients in the state of West Virginia must be covered by Medicaid for gender-transforming surgeries.

The LGBT interest group, Lambda Legal originally filed the lawsuit, stating, ” A Medicaid exclusion for low-income residents with gender dysphoria would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, the Affordable Care Act, and the Medicaid Act.”

Chamber’s reasoning is that a person with a gender dysphoria diagnosis had to be treated the same as individuals suffering from other medical issues. He stated it would be discriminatory for the state to offer the same procedures to Medicaid recipients not suffering from gender dysphoria. 

The current policy allows for a woman with breast cancer to undergo a mastectomy but does not allow a woman suffering from gender dysphoria to remove healthy breast tissues under Medicaid coverage. 

Judge Chambers wrote:

“It is undisputed that the criteria determining whether or not such treatment is covered under the Medicaid Program hinges on a diagnosis — but when treatment is precluded for a diagnosis based on one’s gender identity, such exclusion invidiously discriminates on the basis of sex and transgender status.”

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