Mass AG Joins Coalition To Support Gender-Affirming Care
In full transparency, the following is a press release submitted to SOURCE media from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. (stock photo)
BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general in filing a brief in support of a group of transgender individuals and parents of transgender individuals denied coverage for gender-affirming care under the North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.
The brief, filed Tuesday in the case, Kadel v. Folwell, argues that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals should affirm a lower court ruling which determined that the health plan’s denial of medically necessary, gender-affirming care for transgender individuals violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The states argue that the health plan’s denial of coverage “overtly discriminates against members for failing to conform to the sex stereotype propagated” by the health plan.
“Transphobic polices like this deny essential medical care to transgender patients,” AG Healey said. “We are calling on the Court to overturn North Carolina’s discriminatory and dangerous plan.”
The amicus brief notes the efforts that states joining the filing have made to protect transgender healthcare rights, including prohibiting health care discrimination on the basis of transgender identity and ensuring that state employee health care plans cover medically necessary gender-affirming care. The states have also adopted policies that guarantee non-discriminatory coverage of gender-affirming care for transgender youth. These policies have improved the well-being of transgender people, and reduced the risk of suicide, substance abuse, and depression, without significantly increasing premium costs or expenses to insurers and plan sponsors.
In 2014, the Massachusetts Division of Insurance issued guidance stating that “denial of coverage for medically necessary treatment based on an individual’s gender identity” is sex discrimination that is prohibited under state law.
The brief is a continuation of AG Healey’s ongoing advocacy for the equal rights of LGBTQI+ individuals. Earlier this year, AG Healey joined a coalition of attorneys general in filing an amicus brief opposing an Arkansas law that prohibits healthcare professionals from providing transgender teenagers with medically necessary care.
In August, AG Healey joined a coalition of attorneys general in filing a brief in support of a 13-year-old Indiana transgender boy who is suing his school district for gender identity discrimination. Also in August, the AG joined a brief opposing an Alabama law criminalizing evidence-based and medically accepted gender-affirming care for transgender young people. In 2017 she joined a similar amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court in support of a transgender student suing his school in Gloucester County, Virginia.
In 2016, AG Healey worked closely with advocates, the business community, and transgender families to successfully garner support for the passage of an amendment to Massachusetts’ Public Accommodations Law protecting against discrimination on the basis of gender identity.
Joining AG Healey in filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and the District of Columbia.