“This announcement is truly historic,” said Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD). “This removes all legal barriers in Massachusetts to access to health care for transgender people, and affirms the overwhelming medical consensus that gender reassignment surgery and other related procedures are essential health care services. Massachusetts is a leader in providing health care to transgender people, and should be a model for other states.”
The announcement follows closely last week’s move by Medicare removing a categorical exclusion of gender reassignment surgery from its coverage, after advocacy by GLAD, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. It comes within weeks after GLAD filed a MassHealth claim on behalf of Rikki Bates, and builds on the foundation established by GLAD’s victory in the case O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, a national decision that the IRS cannot deny a tax deduction for medical expenses related to gender reassignment surgery.
Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy and education, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status and sexual orientation.
[From a News Release]