Judge rules Minnesota must offer gender reassignment on Medicaid
A district court judge has overturned a Minnesota ban on transgender people accessing gender reassignment surgery on medical assistance.
The ruling was made by Ramsey County Judge William Leary in the case of 64-year-old Evan Thomas to go ahead with the surgery.
Thomas had sued the state’s Department of Human Services in order to access the right.
The ban was deemed unconstitutional by judge Leary who rejected the argument that budgetary constraints justified the ban.
“For many of us, the ability to have the surgeries is a matter of life and death,” Thomas said after the ruling. “Feeling you are in the wrong body can be devastating.”
The ACLU of Minnesota filed the lawsuit in December on behalf of Thomas.
Changes to the Affordable Care Act which took place in July mean states have to bring their laws up to date and allow gender reassignment surgeries by 1 January.
The Department of Human Services has now said it will support the ruling: “The department has been working to provide health care services related to gender transition since a federal rule went into effect in July 2016. The district court order brings the state into compliance with this federal rule and ensures the department may provide this service to Minnesotans.”
“I’m so happy we won,” Thomas added. “The judge’s ruling is a forceful statement that transgender people deserve equal treatment under the law.”