NY considers Medicaid for transgender surgery

By the Associated Press | September 29, 2011 | 4:55 PM EDT

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A panel considering ways to revamp Medicaid in New York has proposed that the program that pays for low-income residents' health care cover transgender surgery and hormone replacement therapy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo appointed a task force earlier this year to overhaul the Medicaid system and cut costs. A group of health care professionals examining disparities in coverage is expected to decide next week where the transgender proposal fits on its list of priorities.

Advocates say the change could affect thousands of New Yorkers and help cut Medicaid costs for their mental health and drug abuse treatment.

California and Minnesota already provide Medicaid coverage for transgender surgery and hormone replacement therapy, which the American Medical Association calls medically necessary.

Cuomo will consider task force recommendations in his budget next year.