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Trans Medicare Denial Challenged

By Charlotte Robinson, April 02, 2013
The final frontier for LGBT equality being our transgender community's rights several national LGBT groups have filed an administrative challenge to Medicare’s ban on medically necessary healthcare for transgender patients. Medicare currently prohibits all forms of gender reassignment surgeries regardless of the individual patient’s diagnosis or serious medical needs. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) & civil rights attorney Mary Lou Boelcke initiated the challenge on behalf of Denee Mallon, a transgender woman whose doctors have recommended surgery to alleviate her severe gender dysphoria. Shannon Minter, the Legal Director at NCLR stated, “Medicare’s categorical exclusion of this care lacks any scientific basis. Study after study has shown that these surgeries are the only effective treatment for many patients suffering from severe gender dysphoria.” Ms. Mallon joined the United States Army when she was 17 years old & worked as a forensics investigator for a city police department after she was honorably discharged from the Army. She was later diagnosed with gender identity disorder, a serious medical condition that is characterized by intense & persistent discomfort with one’s birth sex. Medicare adopted the ban over thirty years ago. Decades of extensive scientific & clinical research since that time have established that these surgeries are safe & effective. Jennifer Levi, Transgender Rights Project Director for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders added, “What matters to us is that there will be a fair & scientifically based review of the ban. We don’t think the medical data supports it and are hopeful that CMS will agree.”
AUDIO: GLAD's Lee Swislow on DOMA & Transgender Rights

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