Lawmakers discuss gender-affirming health care

Lawmakers discuss gender-affirming health care

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(ABC 6 News) – A bill working its way through the Minnesota legislature aims to provide health care coverage to all Minnesotans receiving gender-affirming care.

Officials on both sides of the aisle say they agree this kind of health care should be covered, but some are worried about permanent care being provided to kids at such a young age.

“Health care for trans people is not something that typically is covered in most major plans,” said Julie Winters with Rochester Pride.

Winters says most providers don’t cover gender-affirming health care because it often concerns an underserved population and people are not familiar with what exactly is needed.

Rep. Andy Smith (DFL-Rochester) is a co-author of a bill in the Minnesota legislature and says it is essential that gender-affirming care is covered.

“Insurance plans, if they are going to be traded, offered or sold, should be required to cover those lifesaving health care procedures,” said Smith.

However, the bill has been met with some push back from the GOP, specifically when it comes to care for children.

“There was no disagreement outside of how children were covered in that bill,” said Rep. Duane Quam (R-Byron).

Many on the conservative side of the aisle leaned on data collected in Europe about the safety of gender-affirming care in youth.

“Public health authorities in Finland, Sweden and England have concluded that the risk benefit ratio of pharmaceutical and surgical intervention in this way ranges from unknown to unfavorable,” said Rebecca Delahunt with Minnesota Family Council.

Lawmakers with the GOP say they only want the bill to apply to adults and if kids are involved in it, they want to see reversal options. That provision, however, was ultimately shot down by Democrats.

“Our decision to say ‘no permanent treatment’ as in the puberty blocking; those surgeries should not be included in the bill,” said Quam.

Supporters for the bill argue this care is safe.

“To be clear, I don’t think there is a reputable provider that I’m aware of, especially in the local community, that would provide anything irreversible or harmful for a minor child who might experiencing gender dysphoria,” said Winters.

You can read HF 2607 HERE.