A federal judge has ordered that Wisconsin’s Medicaid program must cover gender affirmation health care in a major victory for transgender Wisconsinites.
Four transgender people sued the state’s Department of Health Services for refusing coverage because of a 1998 law that bans using Medicaid money for “transsexual surgery.” U.S. District Judge William Conley ruled on Friday that the state had to cover gender affirmation health care because it’s an allowed treatment for gender dysphoria.
“There is now a consensus within the medical profession that gender dysphoria is a serious medical condition, which if left untreated or inadequately treated can cause adverse symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, serious mental distress, self-harm and suicidal ideation,” Conley wrote.
Conley also ordered that refusing to cover gender-affirming health care was sex discrimination under the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid is partly funded with federal money.
The state estimates that it will cost between $300,000 and $1.2 million per year to cover gender affirmation health care.
Wisconsin is one of nine states to expressly prohibit coverage for transgender care in its Medicaid program.
Earlier in 2019, the state began covering such care for state employees.