Two Teenagers Sue Arizona’s Medicaid Program, Claiming Discrimination for Not Funding Gender Transition Surgeries

Arizona Capitol State House

Two teenagers in Arizona have sued the state’s Medicaid program, arguing that the state was violating their civil rights by declining to pay for gender transition surgeries.

Reports indicate that approximately 100 residents of the Grand Canyon state may be affected by this lawsuit, which is aiming to create a class action for Medicaid recipients under the age of 21 wishing to have their breasts amputated, euphemistically referred to as “chest reconstruction.” Presently, Arizona’s Medicaid agency bans such surgical procedures.

This particular class is defined in the lawsuit as “individuals who have been unable and will be unable” to acquire coverage through the state’s Health Care Cost Containment System “for medically necessary male chest reconstruction surgery because of the [prohibition], and as a result, have faced or will face delayed or denied access to these medically necessary treatments.”

Under the banner of anti-discrimination provisions in the Affordable Care Act, the claimants argue that a 1982 state ban on using Medicaid funds is an affront to their civil rights.

The lawsuit goes on to argue that two biological females who came out as transgender a few years ago experienced challenges as puberty started changing their bodies and that they had to rely on breast binders and heavy hoodies, which is not easy in the Arizona summer heat, in order to appear more masculine.

“Categorically excluding surgical treatment for gender dysphoria impermissibly discriminates against transgender people,” said Asaf Orr, director of the Transgender Youth Project at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“There is no legitimate justification for Arizona’s refusal to provide this critical care to transgender Medicaid recipients. Instead, excluding that care creates unnecessary barriers that prevent transgender young people from thriving in every aspect of their lives and can cause lifelong harms.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter