Transgender healthcare and gender reassignment surgery are covered by Medicaid in the state of Oregon since January 2015.
Many have interpreted the news as an opportunity for teenagers to undergo gender reassignment surgery on taxpayers’ money without the family’s consent, as the legal consenting age is 15. Yet, the legal consenting age for medical treatment of any kind has been 15 for decades.
Oregon subsidizes transgender healthcare which includes gender reassignment surgery, it’s true. But it does so after thorough investigation and a lengthy process for all who would require it.
As of yet, data obtained indicates that only ten adult residents of Oregon have asked for gender reassignment surgery, while 17 teenagers are in the process of cross-sex hormone therapy.
As regards the legal age of consent and the view that parents are not overseeing the options of their teenage children, the Oregon Health Authority stated:
“However, nothing in Oregon law requires a health care provider to provide medical services to a minor or safeguard the confidentiality of a minor. In most cases, providers will encourage (and in some cases require) family engagement and support unless it would endanger the patient”.
Certainly, the decision to sign transgender healthcare into law has launched a controversy. Yet, regarding the loss of parental control so widely decried, it is clear that is not the case. Additionally, all requests for sex reassignment surgery are carefully reviewed and safeguarded by specific guidelines that are indented to prevent abuse.
A lighter side of the Medicaid covered transgender healthcare is that it addresses serious issues related to gender dysphoria. As people are experiencing the feeling that they assigned gender is not their expressed gender, a number of factors influence their decisions.
Often times gender dysphoria sparks depression and emotional suffering and adds to suicide statistics, fear of identity disclosure and mental instability. Offering adequate healthcare to transgender people, be they 15 or older is a matter of ultimately saving lives.
More specifically, the Oregon Health Plan now includes transgender healthcare as gender reassignment surgery, puberty suppressing drugs, as well as cross-sex hormone therapy. The decision to include these treatments under Medicaid coverage belongs to the Oregon Health Evidence Review Commission.
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