Lawmakers, Advocates react to Trans Health Equity Act passing MD House
MARYLAND – The Maryland Trans Health Equity Act has passed the Maryland House, and with its Senate version crossing over to the House Health and Government Operations Committee as it ultimately heads to Governor Wes Moore’s desk, advocates and lawmakers are applauding the passage of a measure they say will make Gender affirming care in the state more affordable.
“We are looking at a significant number of people, particularly Black transgender non-binary folks who this bill will literally save their lives,” said the Director of Public Policy and Programs at the National Black Justice Coalition, adding, “folks have wanted to reliable healthcare that incorporates the nuanced care for trans issues.”
The bill removes restrictions on the state’s Medicaid program from being able to cover 30+ healthcare treatments, many of which are covered by 3rd party insurance, but was explicitly blocked from being covered in the state’s insurance payouts.
“We are thrilled this is going forward it is life-saving legislation it is critical, we have had a tiered system where folks who have funds and on private insurance had one standard of care while low-income trans-folks on Medicaid were at a different lower standard of care,” said Trans Maryland Executive Director Lee Blinder.
Blinder tells 47 ABC that the care is far from cosmetic, with the treatments being a key part of “trans folks being to live as their full selves and live full and loving lives.”
Lawmakers also stressed that the measure does not decrease the age requirements, referrals, or any existing requirements needed to access that care.
“That was misinformation we saw in the past, but the vast majority did not let that hinder them and passing this transformative legislation for our community,” said bill co-sponsor Delegate Gabriel Acavero.
He says despite amendments being introduced to limit the scope and funding for the bill, he is stressing the fiscal responsibility of the act.
“This measure is backed by federal funding through reimbursements and these procedures will be less than 0.05% percent of our total Medicaid expenditures,” he said adding “there were several attempts to weaken this law, but what we ultimately passed is a strong piece of legislation that lets trans-Marylanders get the coverage they need.”
Blinder tells 47ABC they are grateful to Acavero and those who spoke out at multiple hearings, as well as several public statements from Governor Wes Moore, which they believe allowed the measure to succeed where previous efforts had fallen short.
“We were really lucky, the community really responded and turned we were facing harmful amendments but people voiced their support, reached out to legislators, and the congressional LGBTQ caucus- really helped us get that clean bill,” Blinder said.
The bills now head to Governor Wes Moore’s desk for approval.
Blinder tells 47 ABC that while similar measures to help Transgender adults change their gender on state birth certificates, as well as end the practice of imprisoning trans adults based on gender assigned at birth failed to meet the crossover deadline, efforts will be renewed for the next year’s session.