ALBANY — The governor of New York has approved a regulation requiring Medicaid to cover treatments for “transgenders,” including sex change surgeries–a move that is stirring opposition from those who disagree that taxpayer funds should be used for questionable operations.
“New York has always been a progressive leader and ensuring that all New Yorkers—regardless of gender identity—are treated fairly will continue this legacy,” Andrew Cuomo stated. “This new regulation will guarantee transgender New Yorkers access to Medicaid-funded care, which is critical to safeguarding the principle of equal treatment. I am proud that the state is taking this step and continuing to lead the fight on transgender rights.”
According to the new regulation, the individual must be diagnosed by a medical professional as having gender dysphoria, to obtain mental health counseling, to obtain hormone therapy for at least a year and live as a member of the opposite sex for that period of time. They must also be at least 18 years of age.
The move will thus result in taxpayer funds being used to pay for the sex change operations and hormonal treatments of those considered to be living at poverty levels. Estimates are that the move will cost $6.7 million a year, as the New York Post reports that there are over 600 New York residents on Medicaid that have been diagnosed with having a gender identity disorder.
But some have expressed opposition to the regulation, including former gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.
“New Yorkers pay the highest property taxes in America because our Medicaid costs already are through the roof,” he told reporters. “Putting taxpayers on the hook for sex change operations when they often struggle to pay for their own basic health-care needs is ridiculous, no matter how it’s spun.”
“It’s an inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars,” agreed state Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn).
The regulation will be open to public comment prior to its official enactment.
The announcement comes just days after the New York State Department of Financial Services, which is under the leadership of Gov. Cuomo, issued a letter to all insurance companies throughout the state, prohibiting them from turning down transgenders for coverage.
“An issuer may not deny medically necessary treatment otherwise covered by a health insurance policy solely on the basis that the treatment is for gender dysphoria,” the memo read.
But Christian groups in the state say that while kindness should be shown to those who struggle with gender identity issues, the government should not require those that oppose transsexualism to pay for such operations and procedures.
“New Yorkers who experience gender dysphoria should be treated with Christian compassion, and are entitled to the same rights that extend to everyone else. However, no one is entitled to force anyone else to pay for costly and ill-advised ‘sex reassignment’ procedures,” commented the Albany-based organization New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms (NYCF). “NYCF hopes that Gov. Cuomo’s unilateral and coercive transgender edict will be successfully challenged in court.”
Photo: Pat Arnow