Wisconsin rule in question excludes Medicaid coverage for undefined ‘transsexual surgery’…
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) A federal judge in Wisconsin has ordered the state to fully fund transitional surgeries that two transgender Medicaid recipients say they need, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Thursday.
Cody Flack and Sara Ann Makenzie sued the state in April, saying Wisconsin’s denial of coverage for transgender surgeries violates the Affordable Care Act and their equal protection rights.
“The Wisconsin policy is nonsensical, not supported by the medical community, and continues to exacerbate gender dysphoria that Mr. Flack and Ms. Makenzie experience,” said Abigail Coursolle, senior attorney with the National Health Law Program.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Conley agreed, issuing a 39-page order barring enforcement of the law in question.
He said the plaintiffs showed a “reasonable likelihood” of prevailing in their claims.
“The likelihood of ongoing, irreparable harm facing these two individual plaintiffs outweighs any marginal impacts on the defendants’ stated concerns regarding public health or limiting costs,” Conley wrote.
The Wisconsin rule in question excludes Medicaid coverage for undefined “transsexual surgery” and was adopted in 1996.
It is one of 10 states to deny Medicaid coverage for explicitly transgender transitional procedures.
Conley said he might expand his injunction to not just bar the enforcement of this rule, but also to include any transgender Medicaid patient whose doctor recommends surgery.
Conley said the ruling wouldn’t create a flood of surgeries, though.
The state is fighting back, arguing the injunction could cost $2.1 million to cover procedures for all Wisconsin Medicaid beneficiaries.
Conley denied that, however, and said if the injunction was expanded, the state would have the opportunity to provide better cost data.
Wisconsin’s rule, he said, “feeds into sex stereotypes by requiring all transgender individuals receiving Wisconsin Medicaid to keep genitalia and other prominent sex characteristics consistent with their natal sex no matter how painful and disorienting it may prove for some.”