Democrats in the House of Representatives on Friday rejected a floor amendment that would have required MaineCare, Maine’s Medicaid program, to cover the expenses of transgender individuals who elect to reverse their sex-change procedures.
The amendment to provide funding for so-called “detransition” procedures would also have required coverage for any complications arising from what the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) calls “gender-affirming care.”
As a result, it remains uncertain whether MaineCare would cover the healthcare costs for a transgender individual facing complications caused by hormone therapy or who wants to detransition.
The 54,000-member American College of Cardiology has said as recently as February that people who take hormones as part of gender change therapy face “substantially increased risk of serious cardiac events, including stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolism.”
Even the National Institutes of Health has said there is evidence that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones can cause cardiovascular and bone-density problems.
Although LGBT advocates say detransitioning is rare, that may be because the current surge in gender reassignment procedures is a relatively new phenomenon. More and more prominent detransitioners have surfaced on social media and in political debates to criticize how gender-related care is conducted in the United States.
The original bill, LD 1040, would require MaineCare to provide taxpayer-funded reimbursements for sex-change surgeries and hormone treatments.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Matt Moonen (D-Portland), will prohibit DHHS from discriminating in its reimbursement of “medically necessary treatment” on the basis of a MaineCare member’s gender identity or gender expression.
While the bill raised a contentious debate on the House floor, it will have little impact on current Maine policy, as Maine Gov. Janet Mills has already expanded MaineCare reimbursement to cover sex changes.
As the Maine Wire has reported exclusively, DHHS records show that taxpayer-funded sex changes have risen sharply in Maine following Gov. Mills’ policy directive.
Rep. Katrina Smith (R-Palermo) presented an amendment to the bill which would include eventual complications from sex change surgeries, de-transitions, and hormone treatments under the required reimbursed treatments.
Democrats used a series of parliamentary maneuvers to postpone the amendment, effectively killing Smith’s attempt to expand healthcare to transgender individuals who may regret their sex changes or may have medical complications from the procedures.
“I am very disappointed in the actions the Democrats took today to deny long term care to the transgender community,” Smith told the Maine Wire.
“It is proven fact that massive complications arise from hormone replacement therapy and sex change operations,” Smith said. “To encourage these practices and then deny help to people when they find themselves in medical crisis is reprehensible.”