Government Medicaid/Medicare funding for “Sex Change Surgery” proposed, then withdrawn within hours
March 30, 2013
Early in the day Friday March 29 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a ground-breaking announcement. For the first time since 1981, when so-called “sex-change” surgeries were declared experimental and not eligible for government covered funding, the division was considering reversing that decision. HHS declared its intention to solicit public input for thirty days prior to reversing the ban on government funded radical cosmetic surgeries which attempt to visually change the appearance of male genitals to female, and vice versa, on individuals who believe in sex-based personality theory, or who are diagnosed with gender/sex-role based mental illness.
From The Advocate:
“The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs the federal government’s national insurance program, is reconsidering whether or not it should cover gender reassignment surgery (often called sex reassignment surgery) for transgender people who have Medicare. It has offered the public 30 days to offer opinions on the matter. Since around 48 million people are covered by Medicare, if the agency decides to allow coverage, the change would have a significant impact on transgender people in the U.S.
The center states that it “considers all public comments, and is particularly interested in clinical studies and other scientific information relevant to the topic under review. Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder is currently noncovered under the Medicare Part A and Part B programs. The existing policy, which became effective in 1981, states that transsexual surgery is considered experimental. Please note that we are making an administrative change to the NCD title under this reconsideration to reflect current medical terminology. The new title for Section 140.3 will be Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder.”
From the Washington Examiner:
For the first time since 1981, when it dubbed sex-change operations “experimental,” Medicare has opened the door to covering transexual operations, adding to the growing list of operations that would be allowed under Obamacare.
Acting on a new request, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Servicessaid it is starting a new analysis that could lift the spending ban for sex-change operations with a goal of making a decision two days after Christmas and on the eve of Obamacare kicking in Jan. 1.
“Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder, formerly referred to as transsexual surgery in 140.3, is currently noncovered under the Medicare Part A and Part B programs. The existing policy, which became effective in 1981, states that transsexual surgery is considered experimental,” said the notice just posted on the CMS.gov site.
“Please note that we are making an administrative change to the NCD title under this reconsideration to reflect current medical terminology. The new title for Section 140.3 will be Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder,” it adds.
In supporting letters to CMS, one of the proponents claims that the experimental status of sex-change operations has long passed and that studies confirm it works. “These medical procedures and treatment protocols are not experimental: decades of both clinical experience and medical research show they are essential to achieving well-being for the transsexual patient,” said the letter.
A second letter called the federal policy discriminatory, and added that failure to get the operation by those who needed can cause death. “The net effect is a failure to treat a treatable disorder which in many cases leads to death. The discrimination (is) clearly un-American,” added the letter.“
By the end of the day the entire proposal had been retracted.
An HHS spokesman said HHS’ Departmental Appeals Board is weighing a challenge to the department’s ruling that sex-change procedures are experimental and should not be covered by Medicare and Medicaid. While that challenge works its way through the system, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has withdrawn its proposal to reconsider the coverage policy on its own.
“An administrative challenge to our 1981 Medicare national coverage determination concerning sex reassignment surgery was just filed,” a spokesperson said Friday. “This administrative challenge is being considered and working its way through the proper administrative channels. In light of the challenge, we are no longer re-opening the national coverage determination for reconsideration.”
Guess the whole “Obamacare funds free cosmetic sex-change” spin didn’t play so well. Perhaps during an economic depression where the have-nots can’t afford groceries and Medicare fails to cover eyesight and dental care -those who are hungry, going blind and losing their teeth didn’t take too kindly to paying for cosmetic surgeries for those who believe they would be happier if they looked superficially more like they had a different reproductive biology than the one they were born with.
Interesting this quote from the idiots at CMS: “”Please note that we are making an administrative change to the NCD title under this reconsideration to reflect current medical terminology. The new title for Section 140.3 will be Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder” . “Current medical terminology” which becomes obsolete in one month when the diagnosis of “Gender Identity Disorder” is eliminated in the DSM and replaced with “Gender Dysphoria”? Totally clueless.
The link to the HHS public feedback site now gives a 404/error when clicked. Very very interesting. GenderTrender will be following these developments closely as details emerge.