Federal judge orders Wisconsin to pay for gender reassignment surgeries

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A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Wisconsin to cover the costs for gender reassignment surgeries for two transgender Medicaid recipients. 

Wisconsin residents Cody Flack and Sara Ann Makenzie filed a lawsuit in April over a state rule adopted in 1996 that denied coverage for undefined “transsexual” surgeries, according to The Associated Press.   

In the suit, Flack and Makenzie argued that the state rule denying them coverage for surgeries to treat their gender dysphoria is a violation of the Affordable Care Act and their rights to equal protection. They argued that the treatment they are seeking is medically necessary, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

U.S. District Judge William Conley reportedly granted a preliminary injunction barring the state rule’s enforcement. 

The judge also reportedly suggested that the injunction could be expanded to include covering surgeries treating gender dysphoria for any transgender patient on Medicaid whose doctor recommends the procedure.

{mosads}”The likelihood of ongoing, irreparable harm facing these two individual plaintiffs outweighs any marginal impacts on the defendants’ stated concerns regarding public health or limiting costs,” Conley said in the order obtained by the publication. 

Attorney Rock Pledl said Flack could possibly receive the surgery as soon as within two or three weeks. Pledl said Makenzie may have to wait longer to receive the surgery, however, due to the status of her paperwork process with an HMO.

The move arrives on the heels of an Iowa judge’s ruling last month that the state cannot deny two transgender women Medicaid coverage for gender reassignment surgery. 


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