Your State Senator will be voting soon on whether Pennsylvania returns to the longstanding policy of the CHIP program to exclude coverage for controversial sex change (“gender reassignment”) surgery and services.
Pennsylvania was the first state to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a taxpayer funded program that was set up to help children and families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but who can’t afford private coverage. Last year, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order unilaterally changing the state’s policy for CHIP to additionally cover gender reassignment surgery and related services.
Our Senators need to understand that coverage for gender reassignment surgery is bad policy:
1) It’s harming children.
Many respected medical professionals acknowledge that reassignment surgery (“sex change” operations) has not proven effective for treating mental health conditions. This is especially true in the case of younger children who typically identify with their own sex after they go through puberty.
At 12 years old, Patrick Mitchell was diagnosed with gender dysphoria. But two years after taking estrogen hormones and growing his hair long, Patrick, now 14, changed his mind.
“Don’t mess them up,” says pediatrician John Whitehall to 60 Minutes. “We have to acknowledge there are a lot of children who are confused about their gender identity. It’s a normal phase that they would go through. It’s not uncommon. The good news is statistically, they’re going to grow out of it.”
Even the Obama administration, in June 2016, cited inconclusive clinical evidence of the supposed health benefits of gender reassignment surgery.
2) It hurts taxpayers.
This life-altering surgery is also expensive for taxpayers. The cost for one gender reassignment surgery can be well over $100,000. After Governor Wolf’s executive order to change the policy, the state’s estimated cost for the 2016-2017 fiscal year was $9.1 million.
HB1388 is legislation that reauthorizes CHIP for 2018-2019 and now includes this amendment excluding gender reassignment surgery and services. Encourage your State Senator to support HB1388 as amended. Click here to use our Citizen Action Center now to send your State Senator an email in support of HB1388 as amended.