The Maryland legislature has passed a bill known as the Trans Health Equity Act that would expand Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care. While some treatments are currently covered, this bill would expand coverage to all forms of gender-affirming treatment that are consistent with current clinical standards.
According to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, there are approximately 24,000 transgender Marylanders. Del. Anne Kaiser, who introduced the legislation in the House, sees it as a way to show support for this community. “I like to think that this legislation tells trans-Marylanders, as I said at the hearing on Valentine’s Day, ‘We love you, you are welcome here, you are our neighbors, you’re our friends, you belong, you’re welcome’,” said Kaiser.
The bill faced opposition from some lawmakers, including Del. Mark Fisher, who introduced an amendment to prevent Medicaid from providing gender-affirming care to qualified patients under the age of 18, including puberty blockers. Supporters of the amendment argued that the science around puberty blockers is not settled, but the amendment was ultimately rejected after an hour of debate.
If signed into law by Governor Wes Moore, who has expressed support for the measure, the bill would take effect on October 1.
This is not the first time such a bill has been proposed in Maryland. A similar bill passed the Senate last year but failed in the House.
The Trans Health Equity Act will now move to the opposite chamber for consideration before being presented to the governor for signature.