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Maryland House passes bill requiring sex-affirmation treatment under Medicaid

The Maryland House of Delegates on Saturday passed a bill that would expand the state’s Medicaid program to cover gender-affirmation procedures for transgender, intersex, nonbinary, two-spirit and all other gender-queer people.

Transhealth Equity ActHB0283, would play an important role in ensuring that low-income Maryland transgender residents on Medicaid can access hormone therapy, puberty blockers, hair modifications, facial and other body surgeries, along with many other such affirming procedures . often covered by private insurance.

According to the data of Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, 24,000 Maryland residents are transgender and 6,000 are enrolled in Medicaid. In 2022, they welcomed 98 transgender Maryland residents gender affirmation assistance through Medicaid.

But currently the state’s Medicaid program it only covers a few gender-affirming proceduresincluding mental health services, hormone replacement therapy, and sex reassignment surgery for patients age 18 and older who meet certain qualifications. Meanwhile, gender-affirming care is usually covered by private insurance.

The legislation, a similar version of the one that failed last year, spent at home the final score was 93-37. During committee meetings, several Democrats voiced support for the legislation, including Delegate Anne Kaiser, who sponsored the bill.

“We have no representation in this chamber from anyone in the trans community. So I and my 59 co-sponsors are your voice. We are your representation,” Kaiser She said.

She continued: “We recognize that what’s being said nationally… about trans people are the same lies that were being said about gays and lesbians 20 years ago, and that’s part of why I feel the passion and connection with us . trans brothers and sisters. , our neighbors, our community.”

House Republicans on Friday proposed an amendment to the bill that would bar qualified individuals under the age of 18 from receiving sex-affirmation care, a move that reflect nationwide attacks about such life-saving medical care for transgender youth.

“It’s not about health. It’s about the transition of children from boy to girl and from girl to boy,” said Rep. Mark Fisher, the Republican who proposed the amendment, according to The Baltimore Bannersharing their concerns about the possibility of minors receiving surgeries such as vaginectomies, mastectomies and penectomies.

But Delegate Bonnie Cullison, a Democrat, stressed that “it’s absolutely about health.” Cullison countered Fisher’s argument by adding that the operations he was concerned with would only be performed in extreme circumstances and when medically necessary and indicated for the individual’s health. The bill also states that all medical sex-affirmation treatments will only be done after a consultation between a parent, a patient and a health professional.

Fisher’s proposed amendment to ban minors from receiving gender-affirming care failed 90-37, according to the Baltimore Banner. A second Republican-sponsored amendment aimed at preventing sex-affirming minors from being cared for without both parents’ consent failed in the House 91-36.

The legislation will now go to the Senate and, if passed, will be sent to Gov. Wes Moore, who expressed support for the legislation. The adoption of the draft law in Parliament is halfway through 426 anti-LGBTQ legislation sweeping the nation, from banning drag shows to limiting gender-affirming grooming.

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