Cornerstone is concerned about public policy regarding parental rights, children’s welfare, and conscience rights. All three are at issue with SB 331. Cornerstone Action and its supporters support the bill.
A recent Medicaid rule change provides background to our position. Late last July, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services sent letters to participants in the Healthy Families program, informing them that as of July 1, “gender reassignment” (called “sex reassignment” in SB 331) would be a covered service. The letters were addressed to the minors and went out long before the scheduled public hearing about amending Medicaid rules to allow payment for such procedures. A second letter with identical language was sent to minors before the rescheduled hearing as well.
Thus without advance notice, New Hampshire taxpayers were made financially responsible for gender reassignment procedures. DHHS treated Medicaid funding for gender reassignment as a done deal without oversight. The public hearing and subsequent JLCAR review could not change that fact.
Since July 2017, Cornerstone has heard from parents whose families are covered under Healthy Families, but whose children’s chronic conditions are not covered in full under the program. They asked a question that has yet to be answered: with existing health needs yet unmet, why did DHHS expand Medicaid to cover gender reassignment, an elective plastic surgery procedure?
The lack of transparency alone by DHHS in this matter should be enough to prompt you to pass SB 331. At this point, allowing last July’s Medicaid rule change to stand rewards DHHS for its done-deal behavior.
Letting the DHHS policy stand allows gender reassignment for minors. If this is being done under the guise of “non-elective” medicine, I have to ask what will happen if a minor covered under Medicaid were to seek sex-change – or ‘gender reassignment’ – against the wishes of parents. Will DHHS seek custody of such a child on the grounds that parents are failing to provide medical treatment? Will you, as legislators, step in to prevent such a scenario from coming to pass? You can, by supporting SB 331.
We are concerned that taxpayer funding of gender reassignment is a violation of conscience rights. Just as people with sincerely-held religious beliefs about the right to life have been protected to a large degree from funding abortions thanks to the Hyde Amendment and similar provisions, people with sincerely-held moral objections to gender-altering procedures should not be forced into participating in those procedures via their taxes.
Furthermore, with last year’s done-deal rule change, DHHS ignored a federal court order. The DHHS’s excuse for the proposed rule change mandating coverage for sex-change procedures is that failure to do so equals discrimination under the terms of the federal Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, in an action that applies nationwide, has enjoined that provision of Obamacare.
Medicaid funding of gender reassignment is a political move, not driven by public health needs. Please vote Ought to Pass on SB 331, and tell DHHS to keep political moves away from Healthy Families.