April 1, 2013
Last week, several national LGBT groups and a cooperating attorney filed an administrative challenge to Medicare’s ban on medically necessary healthcare for transgender patients. Medicare, which provides healthcare to Americans ages 65 and older and younger people with certain qualifying disabilities, currently prohibits all forms of gender reassignment surgeries regardless of the individual patient’s diagnosis or serious medical needs.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and civil rights attorney Mary Lou Boelcke initiated the challenge on behalf of Denee Mallon, a transgender woman whose doctors have recommended surgery to alleviate her severe gender dysphoria.
Ms. Mallon joined the United States Army when she was 17 years old and worked as a forensics investigator for a city police department after she was honorably discharged from the Army. She was later diagnosed with gender identity disorder, a serious medical condition that is characterized by intense and persistent discomfort with one’s birth sex.