HomePoliticsMaryland House of Representatives passes bill requiring gender-affirming care under Medicaid

Maryland House of Representatives passes bill requiring gender-affirming care under Medicaid

The Maryland House of Delegates approved a bill Saturday that would expand the state’s Medicaid program to cover gender affirmation procedures for transgender, intersex, non-binary, two-spirit, and all other gender-diverse people. .

The Trans Health Equity ActHB0283, would play an important role in ensuring that low-income transgender Marylanders receiving Medicaid can access hormone therapy, puberty blockers, hair alterations, surgeries on the face and other body parts along with various other procedures gender affirmation. which are often covered by private insurance.

According to data from the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, 24,000 Marylanders are transgender and 6,000 are enrolled in Medicaid. In 2022, 98 transgender Maryland residents obtained gender affirming care through Medicaid.

But the state’s Medicaid program currently only covers some gender affirmation procedures, including mental health services, hormone replacement therapy, and gender reassignment surgery for patients age 18 and older who meet specific requirements. Meanwhile, gender-affirming care is often covered by private insurance.

The legislation, a version similar to the one that failed last year, past in the house final vote by a count of 93-37. During committee meetings, several Democrats spoke about their support for the legislation, including delegate Anne Kaiser, who sponsored the bill.

“We have no representation in this House from anyone in the trans community. So me and my 59 co-sponsors are the voice for him. We are their representation”, Kaiser saying.

He continued: “We recognize that what is being said nationally…about trans people are the same lies that were being told about gays and lesbians 20 years ago, and that is part of the reason why I feel the passion and connection with our trans brothers and sisters. , our neighbors, our community.”

House Republicans proposed an amendment to the bill Friday that would prevent qualifying people under the age of 18 from receiving gender-affirming care, a move that reflects nationwide attacks about this kind of life-saving health care for transgender youth.

“This is not about health. It’s about the transition from male to female and the transition of children from female to male,” said Delegate Mark Fisher, the Republican who proposed the amendment, according to the baltimore bannersharing their concerns about minors being able to receive surgeries such as vaginectomies, mastectomies, and penectomies.

But delegate Bonnie Cullison, a Democrat, stressed that “it’s absolutely about health.” Cullison countered Fisher’s argument, adding that the surgeries he is concerned about will only be done in extreme circumstances and when medically necessary and indicated for the person’s health. The bill also states that all gender-affirming health care will only be done after consultation between a parent, the patient, and the medical provider.

Fisher’s proposed amendment to bar minors from receiving gender-affirming care failed 90 to 37, according to the Baltimore Banner. A second Republican-backed amendment aimed at preventing gender-affirming care for minors without the consent of both parents failed in the House 91-36.

The legislation will now go to the Senate and, if approved, will be sent to Governor Wes Moore, who previously expressed his support for the legislation. The approval of the bill in the House comes in the middle of the 426 anti-LGBTQ legislation sweeping the nation, from bans on drag shows to limits on gender-affirming care.

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