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One News Now

N.C. Health Plan to Pay for Sex-Change Surgery

By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
December 16, 2016

The new year will bring an added burden to Tar Heel taxpayers, that of footing the bill for sex-change surgery for anyone covered by the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.

Trustees of the plan, which does not pay for hearing aids or laser eye surgery, voted Dec. 2 to expand coverage to include the sex-change operations and other treatments such as “pubertal delay and gender-affirming hormone therapy,” some of which would be available for children as young as 9.

“The worst moments of history have been when the state enshrines within the law some false idea that enslaves – something that reduces people to the sum of their desires and behavior – something that promotes what people simply want as opposed to what they need,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina.

Dr. Creech said people who suffer from a gender disorder are emotionally confused or experiencing conflict with reality.

“They need help in overcoming, in breaking free from this disorder,” he added. “To acquiesce to it – to celebrate it in law – to publicly fund it – is not only a disservice to citizens who are in its grip, but an egregious tyranny by the state that makes people who find it objectionable finance it.”

The move to offer sex-reassignment coverage to more than 700,000 current and former state employees and their dependents up to age 26 was in response to President Obama’s interpretation of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. It is expected to cost North Carolina taxpayers $350,000 to $850,000 annually.

Like other federal mandates, the ACA prohibits discrimination “on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability,” but the administration has reinterpreted the policy, defining “sex” to include “gender identity and sex stereotyping.” This is the same interpretation that led the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education to insist that public schools allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms of their choice.

Like the school systems, administrators of the state health plan said they fear their failure to fall in line and offer the controversial sex reassignment benefits could jeopardize millions of dollars in federal funding, including $15 million to $20 million in prescription subsidies for retirees and even Medicaid payments. They say the state could also risk being sued.

But incoming state treasurer Dale Folwell has promised to investigate “the true legal and financial implications of this provision and report those findings to the citizens of NC who will be paying for it.”

According to the Obamacare Facts website and other media outlets, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ May 13 interpretation of the ACA stops short of requiring health plans to pay for gender transition, although the rules do require that insurers cover a service for a transgender person if it is covered for any other patient. For example, if a woman can receive hormone therapy during menopause, the plan could not deny the treatment to transgender people who want hormones to modify their appearance.

Folwell said he pledged to reduce the state health plan’s $32 billion debt, to provide a more affordable family premium and provide transparency to taxpayers.

“The provision to pay for sex-change operations does none of those three things,” he said.