Maryland’s House of Delegates passed a bill on Saturday that would expand the state’s Medicaid program to cover gender-affirming procedures for transgender, intersex, nonbinary, two-spirit and all other gender-diverse people.
The Trans Health Equity Act, HB0283, would play an important role in ensuring that low-income transgender Maryland residents on Medicaid can have access to hormone therapy, puberty blockers, hair alterations, surgeries on the face and other parts of the body along with several other gender-affirming procedures that are often covered by private insurance.
According to data from the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, 24,000 Maryland residents are transgender, and 6,000 are enrolled in Medicaid. In 2022, 98 transgender Maryland residents got gender-affirming care through Medicaid.
However, the state’s Medicaid program currently only covers some gender-affirming procedures, such as hormone replacement therapy, gender reassignment surgery for patients 18 and older who meet specific qualifications, and mental health services.
The bill passed in the House with a final vote count of 93-37.
Several Democrats spoke about the bill during the committee meetings.
Anne Kaiser, who sponsored the bill, said, “We don’t have representation in this House by anyone in the trans community. So myself and, my 59 co-sponsors we are your voice. We are your representation.”
“We recognize that what is being said nationally … about trans people are the same lies that were said about gays and lesbians 20 years ago, and that’s part of the reason I feel the passion and the connection to our trans brothers and sisters, our neighbors, our community,” she added.
On Friday, an amendment to the bill that would prevent qualifying individuals under 18 from being provided gender-affirming care was proposed by House Republicans.
Delegate Mark Fisher, the Republican who proposed the amendment, said, “This is not about health. This is about male-to-female transition and female-to-male transition of children.”
Unfortunately, Fisher’s proposed amendment failed by 90-37.
NEW: the House PASSED the Trans Health Equity Act to ensure Maryland Medicaid offers the same comprehensive healthcare coverage to the transgender community as private insurers. pic.twitter.com/fOrz5lfmst
— MD House Democrats (@mdhousedems) March 18, 2023
The Trans Health Equity Act would ensure low-income transgender Maryland residents on Medicaid have access to gender-affirming procedures. https://t.co/2YOMrWN6Dc
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) March 18, 2023
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