The US Department of Health and Human Services is repealing a prohibition of Medicare coverage for gender confirmation surgeries.
Medicare provides healthcare for the country’s elderly and disabled. In 1981, the HHS decided the program could not be used for transition-related health care.
The American Civil Liberties Union, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, and National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a petition against the ban arguing, as the ACLU noted in a press statement, ‘there is a consensus among doctors that transition-related health care is medically necessary.’
The policy change was announced on 30 May.
In a statement hailing the shift GLAAD, the media watchdog group, argued the change is ‘likely to influence private and public health insurance policies around the country’ who do not cover transgender health issues.
‘This landmark HHS ruling sends the message that transgender healthcare isn’t special care,’ GLAAD spokesperson Tiq Milan said in a release. ‘It’s the same healthcare that non-trans people have access to everyday when they need it, but it is specifically denied to one population, just because of who we are.’