WASHINGTON, D.C., June 2, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – American taxpayers will soon pay for senior citizens to have sex change operations, thanks to a decision from the Obama administration.
On Friday, a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) board overturned a policy from 1981 that prevented Medicare funding from being used for gender reassignment surgery.
The decision was made after Denee Mallon, an Army veteran who identifies as a woman, sued for coverage.
Mallon, who wants Medicare to pay for a genital reconstruction procedure, said in a statement that the decision meant that “my doctor and I can now address my medical needs just as other patients and doctors do.”
The longstanding regulation had denied coverage for reassignment surgery, because it was considered “controversial” and “experimental.” However, the Department Appeals Board said that the “provisions of [the 1981 ruling] are no longer a valid basis for denying claims for Medicare coverage of transsexual surgery.”
The board's decision, which is binding for HHS, was expected after the Obama administration first considered changing the 1981 policy in 2013.
The cost per surgery is tremendous – between $10,000 and $50,000, depending on the operation. And while patients will still have to prove a need for Medicare reimbursement, it is likely that the change could be a harbinger for other programs, such as the anti-poverty Medicaid.
While only 0.3 percent of Americans claim to suffer from gender identity disorder, and few senior citizens are likely to take advantage of this new taxpayer-funded coverage, private-sector insurance companies often follow Medicare's lead.
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Leanna Baumer, a senior legislative assistant with the Family Research Council, said that the ruling ignores “real compassion.” That, she said, consists of “mental health treatments that help men and women become comfortable with their actual biological sex — not to advocate for costly and controversial surgeries subsidized by taxpayers.”
The Obama administration has used a variety of executive orders and administrative decisions to advance the transgender political agenda.