DHHS Reschedules Hearing on Medicaid Rule Change to Allow Coverage for “Gender Reassignment”

August 23, 2017

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will hold a public hearing September 13 (originally scheduled for August 24) on a proposed rule change that would permit Medicaid to cover “gender reassignment” surgery. This would include surgery for children covered under the N.H. Healthy Families program.

The hearing will be at 6:00 p.m. at the Howard Recreation Assembly Room at the Governor Hugh Gallen Office Park at 99 Pleasant Street in Concord. Written testimony will be accepted via postal mail, email, or fax until September 20. Write to the DHHS Administrative Rules Unit, 129 Pleasant Street, Concord NH 03301; email michael.holt@dhhs.state.nh.us; fax to 603-271-5590.

The proposed rule change comes after a concerned parent whose family is served by the N.H. Healthy Families program came forward with a July 31 letter from the program, which was sent separately to his children, ages 11 and 17. The letter was headlined  “Changes to Your Health Insurance Plan.” Among the changes, which the letter states were effective July 1, is this: “We will not limit or exclude health services related to gender transition.”

What you can do: attend the hearing, and whether you attend tor not, send your comments and concerns to DHHS using the contact information above. Cornerstone Policy Research has an email alert that you can forward to concerned individuals.

Here are a few questions about the proposed rule change.

  • Why did a letter about the change in “gender reassignment” coverage go out to participants in the N.H. Healthy Families program in July, when the Medicaid rule is said to be a “proposed” rule change that hasn’t even had a public hearing yet?
  • Would children covered by N.H. Healthy Families be able to access “gender reassignment” counseling, medical procedures, hormone treatments, and surgery without parental consent?
  • What provisions exist for conscience protections for individual medical personnel choosing not to participate, on religious grounds, in “gender reassignment” work? Would such personnel be barred from serving Medicaid patients altogether?
  • If a hospital or healthcare practice were to choose (based on any grounds including religious ones) not to offer “gender reassignment” work, would that hospital or healthcare practice be barred from receiving Medicaid reimbursements altogether?

Related news: listen to Cornerstone’s Shannon McGinley and Gabrielle Jette on the Girard at Large radio program, with guests including Walt Heyer, who was formerly transgender; Dr. Michelle Cretella of the American College of Pediatricians; and David Pickup, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.