Target: Sonia Melara, President of the San Francisco Health Commission
Goal: Applaud addition of transgender procedures to city health care plan
San Francisco’s Health Commission recently voted to include transgender individuals in the city’s government-paid health services for uninsured residents. For the last few years, residents have been able to get a variety of medical procedures through the city’s health plan, but transgender patients have been denied medically necessary surgical procedures, even when other patients have been able to obtain those same procedures. The city should be commended for changing its health care policies to be inclusive of all residents and for ensuring the health of the transgender community.
More public and private health programs have started to include transgender surgeries in their plans, in accordance with the medical organizations that have started recommending including them. However, some health care companies continue to insist that transition surgeries are unnecessary cosmetic procedures that should not be covered by health care plans. Many medical professionals agree that these surgeries are necessary medical procedures for some transgender people that have been shown to greatly improve mental health and socioeconomic status.
There is a much higher rate of unemployment in the transgender community than in the general population, and the city’s health plan is the only option for many people. There have been a considerable number of transgender individuals who have faced health problems because the city’s health program would not perform surgeries that it considered unnecessary. Even though San Francisco has a law that prohibits discrimination of this kind, the health program was still treating patients differently based on gender identity. This change to the program makes the city’s laws truly inclusive and anti-discriminatory.
As with any change to a government-funded program, some have expressed concern that this change will put an unnecessary strain on the health program. The plan’s supporters cite San Francisco’s health plan for city employees, which includes transition surgeries, but has not seen a significant rise in the cost as a result. A small increase would be worth it to ensure the health and safety of the city’s transgender population. San Francisco should be commended for making this change and ensuring that all members of the LGBT community are given the care they need.
Dear Commissioner Melara,
San Francisco’s decision to include transition surgeries for transgender residents in its health program will result in a healthier community. Before this change, the city’s otherwise progressive health care program for uninsured residents excluded transgender individuals from certain procedures, even though medical professionals consider them necessary for health reasons.
Doctors and medical organizations have started confirming that transition surgeries are medically necessary for some transgender people and should not be considered cosmetic procedures, as some health care companies continue to claim. Because the transgender population of San Francisco tends to have a higher rate of unemployment than the rest of the population, this exclusion has caused many to go without the medical care they need.
This change to the city’s health plan ends the practice of discrimination against transgender people within the program and guarantees that all members of the community who require these services will be treated equally. Thank you for changing the program to include transgender people and ensuring that everyone will be able to afford the most appropriate medical services.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Sunset Parkerpix via Flickr.