In West Virginia, U.S. District Judge Chuck Chambers ruled that the state's Medicaid program must provide coverage for gender-confirming care for transgender residents, ABC News reported.
Chambers made the ruling on Aug. 2 in a lawsuit filed by LGBTQ interest group Lambda Legal over treatments for gender dysphoria. Chambers said the Medicaid exclusion discriminated on the basis of sex and transgender status and violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment, the Affordable Care Act and the Medicaid Act.
The original lawsuit also named state employee health plans. It was filed on behalf of Christopher Fain, who was denied coverage for his testosterone prescription under Medicaid; and Zachary Martell, who is married to a state employee with healthcare coverage. Both Fain and Martell were denied coverage for bilateral mastectomies.
"We applaud Judge Chamber's decision to remove the discriminatory barrier to accessing medically necessary, gender-confirming surgical care for all transgender West Virginia Medicaid participants. Protecting and advancing health care for transgender people is vital, sound, and just. Transgender West Virginia Medicaid participants deserve to have equal access to the same coverage for medically necessary healthcare that cisgender Medicaid participants receive as a matter of course," said Lambda Legal staff attorney Avatara Smith-Carrington in a media statement.
The court also certified the lawsuit as a class action, covering all transgender West Virginians who participate in Medicaid.
More information about the case is at www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/fain-v-crouch.