Illinois Medicaid Should Cover Gender-Affirming Health Care

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July 3, 2019
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Last week, Lambda Legal submitted comments and suggested changes to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (“IHFS”) regarding proposed changes to the state Medicaid program to begin covering gender-affirming surgery for some people.

The proposed rules remove the discriminatory ban on gender-affirming surgery in the Illinois Medicaid program, consistent with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rules that mandate access to transition-related medical care.

Brian Richardson, regional director for the Midwest Regional office of Lambda Legal, issued the following statement:

“We commend Governor Pritzker and his administration’s commitment to supporting the LGBTQ community and taking the important step to remove the discriminatory prohibition in our state’s Medicaid program. However, as proposed, the rules put forth by IHFS would prevent access to medically necessary care for many transgender Illinoisans. Yes, this is the right thing to do as expressed by the Governor, but it is also imperative that we do it right.

For years, Lambda Legal has been advocating on behalf of patients fighting for equitable access to transition-related care that they and their medical providers determine is best for that person. So, we look forward to working together with the coalition of Illinois advocates, IHFS, and the Pritzker administration to ensure Illinois is truly the most affirming state in the country for our all in our LGBTQ community.”

In addition to Lambda Legal, coalition members include AIDS Foundation of Chicago, American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, Center on Halsted, Equality Illinois, Howard Brown Health, Lambda Legal, The National Center for Transgender Equality, and The TransLife Care Program of Chicago House and Social Service Agency.