SF Health Care Program to Include Transitioning Procedures
San Francisco's Health Commission voted last week to include transitioning procedures for transgender individuals under their universal health care program. The city is reported to be the first in the United States to provide this type of coverage for uninsured residents.
The city's universal health care program, Healthy San Francisco, will be adjusted to provide surgical procedures that were previously denied to transgender individuals if they are already covered for non-transgender individuals and are determined to be medically necessary. The director of policy and programs at the Transgender Law Center, Kristina Wertz, explains that under the current system "a transgender man may need a hysterectomy as part of his transgender operations and it wouldn't be covered, but a non-transgender woman could need the exact same procedure and it would be covered."
Legislators, health care providers, and advocates hope that including transgender individuals under Healthy San Francisco will improve the quality of life for transgendered residents by no longer forcing them to give up basic needs in order to save for transitioning procedures. "Transgender Californians experience unemployment and poverty at rates twice the state average, 42% have delayed seeking health care because they could not afford it, and 26% report health conditions had worsened because they postponed care," reports the Transgender Law Center.
Previously, hormone therapy and mental health services were available to transgender residents under Healthy San Francisco, however surgical procedures were excluded. Inclusion of surgical coverage in the program is expected to be implemented in late 2013.
Media Resources: Washington Blade 11/12/12; CBS 11/8/12; Huffington Post 11/8/12
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .