June 10, 2014 — The Obama administration recently took a step to advance civil rights "by reversing a 1981 policy that excluded gender reassignment surgery from coverage under Medicare," a New York Times editorial states.
The editorial notes that the move likely will also accelerate similar changes in "large companies and university health plans" because "many health plans look to Medicare in setting coverage decisions."
"The ruling is all the more gratifying because it coincides with other positive developments, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's stated willingness to review the military's senseless ban on transgender service, the enactment of Maryland's new law extending civil rights protections to transgender people, and the demise, for insufficient signatures, of a conservative drive to put repeal of Maryland's new law on the ballot in November," the editorial states.
Similarly, New York state "provided further good news last week when it changed a state policy" so that transgender residents can change their gender designation on their birth certificates by providing "a medical provider's affidavit of 'appropriate clinical treatment,'" as opposed to "proof of gender reassignment surgery," the editorial continues.
The editorial urges New York City, "which has its own system for issuing birth certificates" to "quickly adopt the state's enlightened reform." Additionally, the editorial encourages the state to "end the discriminatory exclusion of transgender health care from New York's Medicaid program" (New York Times, 6/9).