Andrew Mark Cuomo is an American politician who is the 56th and current Governor of New York. A member of the Democratic Party, Cuomo was elected Governor in 2010, holding the same position his father Mario Cuomo... wikipedia.org
NY's big '$witch'
Gov. Cuomo approved a new policy Tuesday night allowing impoverished transgender New Yorkers to bill taxpayers for sex-change surgery.
The administration issued new rules requiring New York’s $55 billion Medicaid program — the government health-insurance program for the needy — to foot the bill for “gender reassignment” operations.
State officials estimate the expanded coverage for transgender operations and services will cost the Medicaid program $6.7 million a year. It is already the costliest in the nation.
There are 353 men and 308 women on the state Medicaid rolls who have been diagnosed with gender-identify disorder.
The state Department of Health estimated that a portion of these individuals will seek either hormone therapy or reassignment surgery.
The cost for sex-change operations — which include genital removal, breast augmentation and mastectomy — ranges from $15,000 to $50,000. That doesn’t include thousands of dollars in therapy and counseling services.
Medicaid will pick up the tab for transgender New Yorkers over 18, although the patients must be at least 21 to get surgery that results in sterilization.
“New York state has always been a progressive leader, and ensuring that all New Yorkers — regardless of gender identity — are treated fairly will continue this legacy,” Cuomo said.
“This new regulation will guarantee transgender New Yorkers access to Medicaid-funded care, which is critical to safeguarding the principle of equal treatment,” he said.
“I am proud that the state is taking this step and continuing to lead the fight on transgender rights.”
New York joins Oregon, Massachusetts, Vermont, Washington, DC, and Maryland in offering medical services to transgender residents.
Republican leaders slammed Cuomo’s move as outrageous.
“New Yorkers pay the highest property taxes in America because our Medicaid costs already are through the roof, ” said Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.
State Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn) predicted the Medicaid costs for sex-change operations will be much higher.
“The state is saying it will cost $67 million over 10 years. It will be over $100 million. It’s an inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars,” Golden said.
Cuomo’s measure also will make it easier for foster-care residents in the city’s care who identify as transgender to get sex-reassignment surgery through Medicaid. The city — as well as the state — has been sued for discrimination after refusing to pay for such services.
“We look forward to working with the state in the implementation and rollout of these critical and lifesaving health-care provisions for the transgender community,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the council’s LGBT Caucus said in a joint statement.
Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, said, “We applaud the Cuomo administration for taking this important step.”
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