LGBTQ people face significant barriers to accessing health care, including widespread discrimination in healthcare settings. NCLR engages in a wide range of advocacy, including litigation, policy, and legislation, to improve access to and eradicate discrimination in health care, especially with respect to gender-affirming care for transgender people.
Photo Courtesy The Gender Spectrum Collection
Legislation & Policy
On February 27, 2019, Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA) introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (H.R.1384/S.1804) to establish a national health insurance program to combat the high costs of healthcare and health-related services for all U.S. residents. The Medicare for All Act would provide guaranteed access to affordable healthcare for all persons living in the U.S. Establishing an universal healthcare system is a top priority for LGBTQ people, because they are less likely to have health insurance than non-LGBTQ people.
Cases & Advocacy
On September 26, 2016, the mother of a transgender teenaged boy who was admitted into Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego (RCHSD) for inpatient care filed a lawsuit against the hospital for discrimination against her son, Kyler. One day into his 72-hour stay, and after several failed attempts by his mother to correct the discrimination by the hospital, the hospital’s psychiatrist determined that despite his serious mental health issues, Kyler should be discharged early. About five weeks later, Kyler died by suicide.
Christina Ketcham is a 60-year-old transgender woman who started her transition over four years ago and continues to experience significant distress from the incongruence between her typically masculine facial features and her identity as a woman. To alleviate that distress, Christina’s treating healthcare providers determined that certain facial feminization procedures are medically necessary to treat her gender dysphoria. But, the health insurance offered by her employer has a categorical exclusion for all facial feminization procedures.
Washington, D.C. / Virginia
Amelie Koran is a federal employee who was denied coverage for transition-related care under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB). The federal Office of Personnel Management is the agency responsible for administering the FEHB, which provides health insurance coverage for millions of current and former federal employees across the country.
Parties Settle Landmark Lawsuit by Transgender Employee Who Was Unlawfully Denied Medically Necessary Care
March 3, 2020. Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, along with Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Meyer Stephenson, announced a settlement on behalf of Christina Ketcham, a transgender woman whose employer-provided health insurance excluded coverage for medically necessary facial feminization surgery.