Warren County under pressure from transgender community

Decision to deny coverage for sex-change surgery sparks appeals.

Warren County commissioners were asked again Tuesday to provide coverage of sex-change operations for employees and their dependents.

A transsexual dentist from Cincinnati urged county commissioners to rethink their policy against it, declared after the coverage was part of new rules in 2017 under the Affordable Care Act.

“They consider these operations voluntary, non-essential. They are not,” Dr. Laura Weaver said before the discussion at the end of Tuesday’s commissioners meeting. “In fact, they are essential because they are lifesaving.”

Weaver said one in 4,000 is a transgender person and one in 40,000 a transsexual male.

She described the surgery as a “one-time corrective” that would end costs to the county health plan for medications and therapies already covered.

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The surgery for transsexual males costs about $25,000, more than for a transsexual female, which is also less common, according to Weaver, a member of the board for Crossport, a regional nonprofit that advocates on transgender issues.

Weaver’s request followed a transgender county resident who appealed last month to the commissioners, who have also challenged other provisions of the federal law, better known as Obamacare.

With Commissioner Pat South absent, commissioners Dave Young and Tom Grossmann thanked Weaver for her presentation but left no indication they would change the policy declining coverage of the surgery.

Young said his opposition was primarily based on the surgery being among coverage mandated in 2017 by the law.

“This isn’t some big fight with a certain group of people,” he said.

Rather than federal law, Young said the mandates were the result of actions of someone who’s “months from being out of a job.” Donald Trump was elected in November to replace President Barack Obama.

Grossmann questioned whether the surgery should be paid for by government and likened it to other conditions resulting in high anxiety.

In a text message afterward, Grossmann said he was “willing to look at it based upon all the evidence.”

During the discussion, the commissioners also questioned Weaver about people posing as transgender to enter the opposite sex’s bathroom.

“You cannot lump transgender people with perverts,” Weaver said.

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