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State representative looks to block Medicaid coverage for gender reassignment procedures

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WEEK) — A Republican state representative wants to block a move by Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration to include gender reassignment procedures under Medicaid coverage.

On Friday, Pritzker announced he was directing the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to develop a policy to cover the procedures for people with gender dysphoria.

State Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) said he is drafting legislation to block the policy change.

“We do not need the government intruding on our private lives and at the same time we absolutely do not need government spending our tax dollars on programs that are morally offensive to most people,” Bailey said. “First it was the mandating of teaching LGBTQ history to our children and grandchildren and now the State is considering forcing taxpayers to pay for elective surgeries for sex changes. When will this stop?”

The governor’s administration said funding the procedures will help prevent depression, suicides and other negative side effects in the transgender community.

“Healthcare is a right, not a privilege, and I’m committed to ensuring our LGBTQ community and all Illinoisans have access to that right,” said Pritzker last week. “Expanding Medicaid to cover gender affirming surgeries is cost effective, helps avoid long term health consequences, and most importantly is the right thing to do. With continued attacks coming from Washington, this administration will always stand with our transgender community and their right to lead safe and healthy lives.”

The department does not anticipate a significant new cost in covering the procedures for people age 21 and over. Medicaid will cover genital and breast-related procedures under the policy change.

The policy is expected to take effect this summer.

Tim Shelley

Social Media & Digital Content Manager

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