Medicaid Recipients Sue for Sex Change Surgery

Transgender plaintiffs want Wisconsin to pay for their operations.

Flack and Makenzie have undergone hormone therapy and certain surgical procedures but claim medical health providers have recommended they obtain additional surgeries. Both also say they have experienced severe emotional distress, including self-harm and suicidal ideation, due to their inability to undergo the operations.

 

Two transgender residents this week pushed Wisconsin to move into the next frontier in transgender rights: state-funded sex change surgeries.

In a federal lawsuit filed Monday, two plaintiffs alleged the state Department of Health Services unlawfully discriminated against them by refusing to cover their sex change operations.

Cody Flack, 30, and Sara Ann Makenzie, 41, both transgender individuals and Medicaid recipients, are fighting a 1997 Wisconsin regulation stating sex change surgery is “medically unnecessary” and therefore not eligible for Medicaid coverage. The suit contends the regulation has no scientific backing and is unconstitutional under the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity.

Both Flack and Makenzie have undergone hormone therapy and certain surgical procedures but claim medical health providers have recommended they obtain additional surgeries. Both also say they have experienced severe emotional distress, including self-harm and suicidal ideation, due to their inability to undergo the operations.

“There is a strong consensus among medical and mental health professionals that gender-confirming surgical procedures and hormonal treatments are the only safe and effective medical treatments for the gender dysphoria experienced by many transgender people,” the suit stated.

But experts disagree.

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