ACLU Suing DHS for Denying Medicaid Coverage of Transgender Surgeries

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The Iowa Department of Human Services is facing another lawsuit.

On Thursday the ACLU of Iowa announced it was suing the DHS in hopes of overturning a policy that blocks Medicaid coverage for transition surgeries for transgender Iowans.  The ACLU says as far as the law should be concerned there is no difference between those surgeries and any other surgery.  But that is not the case in Iowa.

"When, with their physician, it is clear that this type of care is medically necessary they shouldn't be barred from accessing it simply because of their gender identity," said ACLU legal director Rita Bettis,  "That is a clear violation of the law and the constitution."

The suit is being brought in part by Carol Ann Beal.  She has lived as a woman since the age of 14.  That's when she began undergoing horomone therapy.  However she says DHS policies are denying her surgeries her doctor has approved.  She says the lawsuit is not just about her.

"I want to make to it easier for young people who need this surgery to make it easier for them to have insurance available for those who have to go through this and not struggle the way I have through this whole process."

Another plaintiff, Quad Cities resident EerieAnna Good, released this statement explaining the importance of transition surgeries:

“This surgery is not just something that I want. It’s something that I very much need to resolve the depression and anxiety I face because my outside fails to match who I know I am: a woman. I’m only 27 and I have my whole life stretching in front of me. I want to have a career. I want to be married and raise kids. I’ve faced a lot of challenges in my life that have made it difficult for me to do these things, but my inability to get the medical care I need has been one of the major roadblocks. This is so important for my health, well-being, and my life.”