The National Pulse

Wisconsin to Begin Funding Sex Reassignment via Medicaid in 2019

Starting off a new year is always associated with change, and the state of Wisconsin is no exception. As 2019 begins, state Medicaid will now begin to pay for sex reassignment surgery and hormone therapy.

Wisconsin’s Group Insurance Board originally voted to start paying for sex reassignment and hormone therapy back in 2016. However, the vote was reversed after Governor Scott Walker asked them to reconsider. This request was based on a dispute of the federal government’s interpretation of Title IX and definition of “sexual discrimination.”

The board ended the coverage on December 30, 2016, and this reversal was upheld through a court ruling in February 1, 2017.

Outrage over this decision from the transgender community instigated a series of legal challenges. These challenges resulted in two transgender plaintiffs being awarded $780,000 after a federal judge ruled that refusal to pay for sex reassignment surgery constituted sexual discrimination.

“Discrimination comes with a cost, and for the state of Wisconsin the bill has come,” stated Larry Dupuis, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin. The lawsuit was handled by the ACLU on behalf of both parties.

“No one should have to tell their story to a room full of strangers to justify their medical expenses, but I am thankful that I had the opportunity to share my story,” commented Alina Boyden, one of the parties suing the state. “I hope this sends a powerful message to fellow transgender people in Wisconsin that our health matters.”

In response to the pressure resulting from this lawsuit, the Wisconsin Group Insurance Board reverted to its original 2016 decision. It was decided in August 2018 that January 1, 2019 would be the start date for coverage.

Medicaid is taxpayer-funded health coverage. While it varies from state to state, funding is usually sourced through a blend of state and federal dollars, and states have different coverage policies.

And although the debate may be settled momentarily in Wisconsin, the issue of whether or not taxpayers should bear the burden of having to pay for a highly politicized and controversial medical service such as sex reassignment still remains largely unsolved nationwide.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

Kelvey Vander Hart

Kelvey Vander Hart is passionate about Jesus, conservatism, fitness, and fantastic coffee; she is also the Associate Editor at Caffeinated Thoughts. She can be followed on Twitter @kovanderhart.

  • Pregnant women are covered by Medicaid for all care related to the pregnancy, delivery and any complications that may occur during pregnancy and up to 60 days postpartum. Additionally, pregnant women also may qualify for care that was received for their pregnancy before they applied and received Medicaid. Pregnancy is certainly a choice and a “want.” Does Jill Blomberg object to tax money being spent on doctors deliverying babies? If not, she practices a religion that sanctions intellectual dishonesty. My God says lying is a sin.

  • Sex reassignment surgery with hormone therapy is not a medical necessity. It is a medical want. Medicaid is for low income people paid for by tax dollars. Medicaid pays for medically necessary treatment for low income family members. Tax dollars (my dollars) should not be used to pay for medical wants. I have medical wants, but even insurance I pay for won’t pay for my medical wants, only my medical needs, and not even all of them. People really must feel entitled when they expect somebody else to pay for their wants.

    The other big elephant in the room on this discussion is the religious aspect of the issue. Many thousands of people of faith consider sex reassignment with hormone therapy morally wrong, and I’m one of them. Don’t ask me to go against my moral beliefs by supporting your emotional beliefs.

    • I agree with your distinction between medical needs and wants. You lost me on your so-called “religious” argument. Many thousands of people of faith support trans people and have no moral opposition to sex reassignment. The big elephant in the room is you thinking you own religion.