On Wednesday, a federal judge ordered the state of Wisconsin to pay for gender reassignment surgeries for two transgender Medicaid recipients. Those recipients, Cody Flack and Sara Ann Makenzie, sued the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which administers Medicaid, and its secretary, Linda Seemeyer, claiming they unlawfully denied Medicaid coverage for necessary transgender medical treatments,
U.S. District Judge William Conley stated, "The likelihood of ongoing, irreparable harm facing these two individual plaintiffs outweighs any marginal impacts on the defendants' stated concerns regarding public health or limiting costs.
A 1997 Wisconsin Department of Health Services regulation says care that relates to gender transition is medically unnecessary. 10 states deny Medicaid coverage of treatments for gender transition; 19 cover treatment, according to the women’s lawsuit.
Lifesite News reports:
Wisconsin’s Medicaid system has an estimated $9.7 billion budget and 1.2 million enrollees, approximately 5,000 of whom are believed to have some form of gender confusion. The state says covering surgery for all of them could cost taxpayers as much as $2.1 million.
Conley dismissed such concerns by claiming the state had no other exclusions based solely on cost, and that the rule “feeds into sex stereotypes by requiring all transgender individuals receiving Wisconsin Medicaid to keep genitalia and other prominent sex characteristics consistent with their natal sex no matter how painful and disorienting it may prove for some.”