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West Virginia Transgender Medicaid Win

By Charlotte Robinson, August 04, 2022

In Charleston, West Virginia federal District Court Judge Robert C. Chambers ruled that West Virginia’s Medicaid program could no longer discriminate by excluding coverage for gender-confirming surgical care for transgender West Virginia Medicaid participants. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal, Nichols Kaster, PLLP & the Employment Law Center, PLLC challenging West Virginia’s exclusion of coverage for gender-confirming surgical care. Plaintiff Shauntae Anderson stated, “I am excited to finally have access to the healthcare I deserve. The exclusion negatively affects my health & wellbeing as well as the health & wellbeing of other transgender Medicaid participants in our community. Gender-confirming care is healthcare & it is lifesaving.” Plaintiff Christopher Fain added, “This is a victory not only for me but for other transgender Medicaid participants across West Virginia. This decision is validating, confirming that after years of fighting to prove that gender-confirming care is medically necessary, we should have access to the same services that West Virginia Medicaid already provides to cisgender participants. Transgender West Virginians should never feel as if our lives are worth less than others.” Avatara Smith-Carrington, Staff Attorney at Lambda Legal concluded, “We applaud Judge Chamber’s decision to remove the discriminatory barrier to accessing medically necessary, gender-confirming surgical care for all transgender West Virginia Medicaid participants. Protecting & advancing health care for transgender people is vital, sound & just. Transgender West Virginia Medicaid participants deserve to have equal access to the same coverage for medically necessary healthcare that cisgender Medicaid participants receive as a matter of course.” 

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