Massachusetts has become the third state to cover all trans-related medical care in its government health plan.

Joining Vermont and California, Massachusetts now includes gender reassignment surgery as a standard benefit under its government health plan.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick moved to bar private insurers from denying coverage for gender reassignment surgery and other treatments necessary for transgender patients.

Patrick said: “I am proud to be part of a Commonwealth that puts equality as its top priority.

“Massachusetts is a leader in health care, where we make the tough decisions for the good of our communities, and where discrimination, of any kind, will not be tolerated.”

Bennett H. Klein, of the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, said: “This announcement is really historic because I don’t think there is a state that has announced in one fell swoop, this comprehensively, that medical care for transgender people is essential.

“It’s not very often that we see moments we can point to as groundbreaking… and this is one of them.”

The Governor’s administration will move for similar reforms within the Group Insurance Commission, which covers the medical costs for thousands of state and municipal employees and their dependants.

Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, complained: “In what other case does the medical profession go along with a mental disorder to the extent of radical surgery on the body instead of treating the underlying mental health issue?

“Instead of giving them the treatment they’re demanding, we should give them the treatment they need. That’s the ethical responsibility for health providers.”

The American Medical Association maintains: “The only effective treatment of [gender dysphoria] is medical care to support the person’s ability to live fully consistent with one’s gender identity.

“Efforts to change a person’s gender identity are futile and, like sexual orientation change efforts, can have a disastrously negative impact on the patient.”