The Obama administration announced last July that transgenders may openly serve in the armed forces, and the Department of Defense is still trying to come up with a workable plan to accommodate them.
Seeing their opening, some transgender veterans are now demanding changes to the medical treatment services provided by the Veterans Affairs – they want the cost of transgender surgeries covered along with all other medical services.
Their argument is that costs for counseling and hormone treatments is already covered. Also, the VA pays for mastectomies on other non-transgender patients, so it should be covered for them as well. ‘
They are also using the argument that the Department of Justice claims that refusing surgical treatment for transgender vets counts as sex discrimination under a particular interpretation of the Civil Rights Act.
But is it medically necessary? TIME gives this reference:
A statement from the American Medical Association that “an established body of medical research demonstrates the effectiveness and medical necessity of mental health care, hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery” in treating people with gender dysphoria. That’s not to say that every transgender person needs or wants surgery, and having had more surgery does not make someone more transgender, cautions the Transgender Law Center’s Buchert, but those procedures can be “life-saving” for those who do want them.
In reference to cosmetic surgeries, Cigna Insurance Company has this statement on their website: “Insurance rarely covers the cost of elective cosmetic surgery and procedures. Unless the surgery is done for medical reasons, you will probably have to pay for it yourself.”
Without question, inclusion of gender reassignment surgery or any other elective cosmetic surgery procedures will drive up insurance costs, and the burden will ultimately fall to the taxpayers.
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