Iowa taxpayers will be forced to fund gender reassignment surgery through Medicaid after the state Supreme Court ruled that such procedures are “medically necessary” for transgender individuals.
On Friday, Iowa’s Supreme Court ruled that transgender people can now use Medicaid for “gender-affirming surgeries,” overturning the state’s previously held administrative code regarding Medicaid, which classifies transition-related surgeries as “cosmetic, reconstructive or plastic surgery” and explicitly bans “surgeries for the purpose of sex reassignment,” the Des Moines Register reports.
The justices agreed with a district judge’s ruling that the rules contradicted protections in the Iowa Civil Rights Act, which added gender identity to the state’s list of protected classes.
That law’s “gender identity classification encompasses transgender individuals — especially those who have gender dysphoria — because discrimination against these individuals is based on the nonconformity between their gender identity and biological sex,” Justice Susan Christensen wrote for the court.
The ruling ends a two-year legal battle between EerieAnna Good and Carol Ann Beal, transgender individuals backed by the ACLU, and the Iowa Department of Human Services. The two individuals had sued the DHS for its policy against funding transition surgeries, calling it “discriminatory” and claiming the surgery was “medically necessary to treat their gender dysphoria.”
“The record evidence shows that this surgery is medically necessary,” John Knight, an attorney with the ACLU representing Beal and Good, told justices when the case was argued. “It’s really lifesaving treatment for a number of individuals.”
However, Iowa Assistant Attorney General Matthew Gillespie, who represented the DHS, had argued that the ACLU attorneys could not prove that the measure was discriminatory in nature. He said the case was really about whether the state denied coverage for surgeries meant to treat psychological problems rather than those that are medically necessary.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett