by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Vermont will enact new rules in its health insurance marketplace that allow minors covered by Medicaid to receive free gender reassignment surgeries with fewer restrictions.
According to the Burlington Free Press, the new proposal put forth by Vermont health insurance regulators allows for 16 kinds of gender modification within a taxpayer-funded system that has, until now, banned the procedures for anyone under the age of 21.
"When a kid gets to the point where they say 'I really, really need this to be comfortable in my body'... why would we get in the way of that?" said Dana Kaplan, executive director of LGBT organization Outright Vermont, who claimed a high suicide rate among transgender teens was the result of gender dysphoria—a disjunction between physical sex and gender identity that Kaplan alleged can only be rectified through gender reassignment.
The Burlington Free Press reported that 50% of children in Vermont receive health coverage under Medicaid, all of whom, under the new law, would potentially have access to surgeries like mastectomy and breast augmentation without the letters from two psychiatrists formerly needed under the old rules.
Until July 17th the Medicaid Policy Unit will be accepting public comment on the new proposal at AHS.MedicaidPolicy@Vermont.gov.