In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office submitted to SOURCE media.
BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey joined a coalition of 13 attorneys general in filing a brief in support of transgender individuals unable to obtain coverage for gender-affirming care under West Virginia’s State Medicaid Program.
The brief, filed Wednesday in the case, Fain v. Crouch, argues that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals should affirm a lower court ruling which determined that the West Virginia State Medicaid Program’s denial of medically necessary, gender-affirming care for transgender individuals violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The states note that Supreme Court rulings have found that discrimination against transgender individuals is discrimination based on sex and therefore a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
“Discriminatory policies like this one deny vulnerable residents lifesaving care,” AG Healey said. “We are calling on the Court to recognize that gender-affirming care is essential health care and to remove this barrier for transgender individuals.”
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 adopting policies that ensure their transgender residents have access to gender-affirming care. These policies have improved the well-being of transgender people, and reduced the risk of suicide, substance abuse, and depression, without meaningfully increasing premium costs or expenses to insurers and plan sponsors.
The brief is a continuation of AG Healey’s ongoing advocacy for the equal rights of LGBTQI+ individuals. In October, AG Healey joined a coalition of attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support 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. In January, she joined 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 Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia.