Nevada Governor Signs Bill Requiring Insurance Coverage for Transgender Procedures
Republican Governor Joe Lombardo of Nevada has signed a bill into law that mandates insurance companies to cover transgender procedures, including surgery for minors. This move is in contrast to Republican governors in nearly 20 states who have signed laws banning transgender procedures on those under 18. In Kentucky, Republicans overrode Democratic Governor Andy Beshear’s veto of a similar ban.
“Except as otherwise provided in this section, an insurer that issues a policy of health insurance shall include in the policy coverage for the medically necessary treatment of conditions relating to gender dysphoria and gender incongruence. Such coverage must include coverage of medically necessary psychosocial and surgical intervention and any other medically necessary treatment for such disorders,” SB 163 says.
Lombardo, who was criticized by conservatives last month after signing a bill to make Nevada a sanctuary for abortion tourism, said he wanted people to read the law before voicing opposition. “I implore people to read the bill in its entirety,” he told reporters. “And you will see it’s not as draconian or detrimental or immoral as people are portraying it to be.”
Insurance Providers Allowed to Create Specifications
The law states that insurance providers, including Medicaid, are allowed to create specifications that must be met before they are required to cover transgender procedures on minors. This includes allowing insurance companies to consult WPATH guidelines before approving a procedure like a double mastectomy on a girl who identifies as a boy. Another guideline was allowing insurance companies to provide parental consent “unless the insured is expressly authorized by law to consent on his or her own behalf.”
The bill was opposed by every Republican in the state Senate and Assembly. Nevada RNC Committeewoman Sigal Chattah blasted Lombardo’s decision, tweeting that Lombardo was “becoming a laughingstock across the nation.” Chattah also suggested that Lombardo had signed the bill to get Democrat support for the Oakland Athletics professional baseball team relocating to Las Vegas.
Some in the state have expressed concern over the law’s implication for Christian or other religious insurance providers who could have a moral objection to the law. Pacific Justice Institute lawyer Emily Mimnaugh told the Nevada Globe, “This law can fund surgical interventions for a child of any age who suffers from gender dysphoria. This law provides no protection for a religious organization, affiliated with an insurer, who objects to these surgeries and its mandate. This law is pushing childhood surgeries forward and pushing people of faith to the side. The new mandate is inconsistent with current state law and contrary to our constitutional guarantee of religious liberty.”
The law is set to take effect on July 1.
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