The state of Maryland has taken a significant step to ensure gender-affirming care for transgender, nonbinary, intersex, two-spirit, and other gender-diverse individuals who are covered by Medicaid. On Saturday, the Maryland’s House of Delegates passed a bill, known as the Trans Health Equity Act or HB0283, that would expand the state’s Medicaid program to include comprehensive coverage for gender-affirming procedures. This would allow low-income transgender Maryland residents on Medicaid to access vital health services such as 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.
Currently, the state’s Medicaid program only covers some gender-affirming procedures, including mental health services, hormone replacement therapy, and gender reassignment surgery for patients 18 and older who meet specific qualifications. However, data from the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, shows that 24,000 Maryland residents are transgender, and 6,000 are enrolled in Medicaid. In 2022, only 98 transgender Maryland residents received gender-affirming care through Medicaid. Thus, the Trans Health Equity Act, if it is passed, would be a welcome development for the transgender community in Maryland.
The legislation, which is a similar version to one that failed last year, was passed in the House final vote by a count of 93-37. During the committee meetings, several Democrats spoke about their support for the legislation, including delegate Anne Kaiser who sponsored the bill. “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,” Kaiser said.
However, House Republicans proposed an amendment to the bill aimed at preventing qualifying individuals under age 18 from being provided gender-affirming care. The proposed amendment reflects nationwide attacks on such life-saving health care for transgender youth. “This is not about health. This is about male-to-female transition and female-to-male transition of children,” Delegate Mark Fisher, the sponsor of the amendment, said. However, the proposed amendment did not make it through, and the bill now moves to the Senate.
The passage of the Trans Health Equity Act in Maryland’s House of Delegates is significant, especially given the ongoing proliferation of anti-LGBTQ+ bills across the United States. With the passage of the bill, Maryland joins a growing number of states that are taking steps towards recognizing and providing comprehensive health care for gender-diverse individuals. The Maryland’s House of Delegates’ initiative should serve as a model for lawmakers across the country to follow in ensuring that transgender and gender-diverse individuals have equal access to health care regardless of their socio-economic status.#Maryland #House #Passes #Bill #Requiring #GenderAffirming #Care #Medicaid