What Repeal of Medicaid Exclusion Means for Transgender New Yorkers

By Michael Nam

Photo by Shutterstock

Add New York’s Medicaid update to a list of victories for the transgender community.

The state recently took steps to remedy the language that prevented transgender citizens covered by Medicaid from accessing vital healthcare. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Department of Health amended the regulation, according to The Advocate.

The update now permits hormone therapy and gender-reassignment surgery to be covered for the treatment of gender dysphoria. The treatments were explicitly restricted from New York Medicaid coverage in 1998.

“This is a long-overdue move that aligns with action in many other states and in the private sector to recognize transgender people’s health needs as legitimate and in need of appropriate coverage,” Kellan Baker, a Senior Fellow with the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress, told DiversityInc.

He also noted that the change comes from years of advocacy work done by groups like the Sylvia Rivera Law Project that, recognizing the interplay between discrimination and poverty for transgender people, promote the Medicaid change as an important step “to ensure that transgender people are able to get the healthcare that they need to be happy, healthy and whole.”

However, Sasha Alexander of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project added, “The new regulation doesn’t cover folks under 18, and doesn’t cover surgeries for folks under 21. It also includes no oversight committee, or training for providers who are supposed to implement this regulation. In addition, the regulation refers to lifesaving trans-related medical care as ‘cosmetic,’ which is a dangerous and offensive framing, and disproportionately impacts trans women, meaning the regulation doesn’t cover facial feminization and chest augmentation.”

Among the most marginalized groups in the U.S., the transgender community has particularly suffered from high levels of employment discriminationdespite Justice Department reminders that it is illegaland poverty. According to the paper “Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey”:

26 percent reported losing a job due to being transgender or gender nonconforming and 50 percent were harassed

15 percent of transgender respondents experience extreme poverty (wages under $10,000)

34 percent of Black transgender respondents experience extreme poverty

19 percent of transgender or gender nonconforming respondents experience discriminatory denial of healthcare

Updating the Medicaid language to include an underserved segment is a step in alleviating some of this suffering according to the transgender-discrimination survey. The vast majority of respondents “felt more comfortable at work and their job performance improved, despite high levels of mistreatment” when able to transition.

For private companies, an important measure in the DiversityInc Top 50 is LGBT inclusion. The Top 10 Companies for LGBT Employees in 2014 employed multiple best practices such as:

An active LGBT employee resource group

Philanthropic endeavors aimed at LGBT nonprofits

Tracking the number of LGBT people in the workplace, including voluntary disclosure

Featuring images and text of LGBT employees, customers or vendors on the company website

Certifying LGBT vendors with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

Spending with certified LGBT vendors

Despite issues with the new regulation, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project does state that the change is a “great start” but that it intends to continue pushing for additional reform.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Latest News

TIAA Holds SoPro Business Resource Group Summit

TIAA recently launched its 10th Business Resource Group (BRG): SoPro, for Seasoned Professionals of TIAA. The SoPro BRG’s mission is to maximize the impact of TIAA’s network of seasoned professionals by bridging generational differences and promoting cross-cultural collaboration by sharing knowledge and experiences. This includes future collaboration and partnership with…

Boeing Programs Receive Aviation Week Laureate Awards

Originally published on Boeing.mediaroom.com. ecoDemonstrator and Ground-based Midcourse Defense programs recognized for achievements in aerospace wo Boeing [NYSE:BA] programs were honored today with Aviation Week Laureate Awards for extraordinary achievements in aerospace. Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program was recognized in the Commercial Aviation Sustainability category. The ecoDemonstrator takes promising technologies out of the…

nonprofit, hr, diversity

Study Finds Many Nonprofits Conscious of Staff Diversity, But Still Struggling with Implementation

Nonprofit HR released its 2019 diversity report Tuesday, which included the results from surveys of 566 nonprofit organizations throughout North America. These organizations were surveyed on their diversity practices, and the results revealed that though many organizations have diversity statements and leaders who tout diversity, the sentiments aren’t always backed…

management coworker joke Breakfast Club Rakevion White ASU Arizona restaurant Instagram

Phoenix Restaurant Employees Racially Target Black Server, Management Slow to Fire Racist Co-worker

Rakevion White, a 21-year-old Black Arizona State University (ASU) student, was subjected to racial targeting at his job as a server at the Breakfast Club in Phoenix, according to a BuzzFeed News article published Tuesday. After initially saying it wouldn’t terminate the employee responsible for targeting White, the Breakfast Club…