On Friday morning, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would be collecting public comments as it considers whether it should use taxpayer dollars to pay for sex-change procedures:
The center states that it “considers all public comments, and is particularly interested in clinical studies and other scientific information relevant to the topic under review. Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder is currently noncovered under the Medicare Part A and Part B programs. The existing policy, which became effective in 1981, states that transsexual surgery is considered experimental. Please note that we are making an administrative change to the NCD title under this reconsideration to reflect current medical terminology. The new title for Section 140.3 will be Surgical Treatment for Gender Identity Disorder.”
But by Friday afternoon, HHS had changed its mind.
What’s going on over there?
According to The Hill, HHS pulled the announcement from its website “after various news media outlets reported on the issue.”
An HHS spokesman said HHS’ Departmental Appeals Board is weighing a challenge to the department’s ruling that sex-change procedures are experimental and should not be covered by Medicare and Medicaid. While that challenge works its way through the system, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has withdrawn its proposal to reconsider the coverage policy on its own.
“An administrative challenge to our 1981 Medicare national coverage determination concerning sex reassignment surgery was just filed,” a spokesperson said Friday. “This administrative challenge is being considered and working its way through the proper administrative channels. In light of the challenge, we are no longer re-opening the national coverage determination for reconsideration.”