Achieving LGBT Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Summary & History

Transgender Law

Policy: Medicare

STATUS: Pending, Federal

NCLR, along with the ACLU national, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and a New Mexico civil rights attorney, filed a challenge in March 2013 to Medicare’s ban on medically necessary healthcare for transgender patients. Since the early 1980s, Medicare, which provides healthcare to Americans ages 65 and older and younger people with certain qualifying disabilities, has prohibited all forms of gender reaffirming surgeries regardless of a patient’s diagnosis or serious medical needs. There is no scientific basis for the ban, which was based on outdated notions that these surgeries are experimental and unsafe. In fact, sex affirming surgeries have been performed for decades, are supported by every major medical association, and are proven to be the only effective treatment for persons with severe gender dysphoria.

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