Court rules Medicaid must cover transgender surgeries

The ruling specifically pointed to procedures such as mastectomies and vaginoplasties
Judge's gavel

A federal judge in West Virginia ruled that the state may not ban medicaid coverage for certain surgeries on the basis of one's gender identity.

Judge Robert Chambers, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, ruled that the state could not ban Medicaid recipients from receiving medical procedures on the basis of a gender dysphoria diagnosis while offering the same procedures to who do not suffer from gender dysphoria, according to the Washington Times.

“It is undisputed that the criteria determining whether or not such treatment is covered under the Medicaid Program hinges on a diagnosis — but when treatment is preluded for a diagnosis based on one’s gender identity, such exclusion invidiously discriminates on the basis of sex and transgender status,” Chambers wrote.

The ruling specifically pointed to procedures such as mastectomies and vaginoplasties, which transgender individuals often seek to bring their bodies' physical characteristics in line with those commonly associated with their expressed gender identity.

West Virginia passed a measure in 2004 banning Medicaid from covering "transsexual surgeries," which was the subject of the suit.

The judge highlighted the Supreme Court's ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County in which the nation's supreme judicial body ruled that employers could not discriminate on the basis of gender identity.