Settlement in Georgia: Medicaid Will Pay for Sex Change Operations for Men Who Say They Are Women

BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 09: Consultant Surgeon Andrew Ready and his team conducts] a live donor kidney transplant at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham on June 9, 2006, in Birmingham, England. Kidney failure patient Carol Playfair was given the chance of life when her sister Tracey Playfair offered one …
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A lawsuit filed by the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of two men living as women has reached a settlement that will force Georgia’s Medicaid program to pay for sex change surgeries and other transgender treatment.

Shon Thomas and Gwendolyn Cheney, claimed that Georgia Medicaid had discriminated against the men, which the Hill repeatedly calls women in its reporting.

“Gender-affirming surgeries are safe, effective, and medically necessary,” Taylor Brown, a staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, said earlier this week. “The ability to obtain gender-affirming surgical care, regardless of socioeconomic status, is an important factor in eliminating systemic health disparities and inequities that many transgender people face.”

The Hill reported:

The ACLU and its Georgia affiliate sued the department last year over its categorical exclusion of coverage for gender-affirming surgery, alleging that the rule violated the constitutional rights of transgender Medicaid beneficiaries, as well as the Affordable Care Act and the federal Medicaid Act.

The state “incorrectly” characterized the health care needs of both women as “cosmetic” and “experimental,” even through the broader medical community has recognized gender-affirming surgery as an effective treatment for gender dysphoria in adults, according to the complaint, which was initially settled in late April following court-facilitated mediation.

According to the ACLU, the removal of Georgia Medicaid’s exclusion will take up to a few months to implement, but transgender beneficiaries should now be able to apply for coverage for gender-affirming surgery through their providers. The group added that the state’s coverage of gender-affirming medical care is a move that is certain to “save lives.”

The Hill reported that the settlement reduces the number of states that have banned “gender-affirming” treatment from ten to nine.Exceptions include Ohio, where the ban is not being enforced, and Arkansas, where a 2021 Medicaid ban only applies to minors.

The case is Delshone Thomas and Gwendolyn Cheney v. Georgia, No. 1:21-cv-02558 for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

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