Tuesday, June 17, 2008

GLAD Applauds AMA's Support for Transgender Health Care

AMA Resolution Calls for Insurance Coverage

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) applauded the American
Medical Association' s (AMA) support for transgender health care, declared
today by a resolution passed by the AMA's House of Delegates.

Meeting in Chicago, the House of Delegates passed a resolution
entitled "Removing Financial Barriers to Care for Transgender Patients,
" which states "Resolved, that our American Medical Association support
public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender identity
disorder as recommended by the patient's physician."

Getting appropriate medical care, from psychotherapy to hormone
therapy to any range of surgeries, is a struggle for most transgender people
due to prejudice, ignorance, and simple discrimination, said Jennifer Levi,
director of GLAD's Transgender Rights Project:

"This resolution is hugely important, coming from the country's most
respected medical organization. Transgender people have to climb over so
many barriers in order to get appropriate care, not the least of which is
insurance coverage. The AMA resolution should help providers, insurers,
courts and legislatures put gender identity disorder in itsproper context –
as a treatable health condition that insurers should cover without
discrimination. "

GLAD's work to challenge bias in health care against transgender
people includes its current litigation of the U.S. Tax Court case,
O'Donnabhain v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, in which the IRS
refused to consider deductible the medical expenses associated
with care of treatment of Rhiannon O'Donnabhain' s gender
identity disorder.

"The questions that were raised in Rhiannon's case about the
legitimacy of the GID diagnosis and appropriateness of its care and
treatment are all answered in the affirmative by this AMA resolution,"
commented Levi. "This resolution firmly contradicts the IRS's
position that gender identity disorder is without a medical basis or
that there is any question about the effectiveness of the established
treatments for it."

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