“The state of Georgia will start paying for gender-affirming health care for state employees, public school teachers and former employees covered by a state health insurance plan,” Scripps News reports.
🚨New: The state of Georgia will start paying for gender-affirming health care for state employees, public school teachers and former state employees who are covered by a state health insurance plan. pic.twitter.com/Gy6Bi0jafc
— The Calvin Coolidge Project (@TheCalvinCooli1) October 21, 2023
The news stems from a “string of lawsuits against Georgia agencies aiming to force them to pay for gender-confirmation surgery and other procedures,” the Associated Press wrote.
The plaintiffs announced they had reached a settlement with the State Health Benefit Plan and moved to dismiss the case in Atlanta federal court.
◉ JUST IN: The state of Georgia will start paying for gender-affirming health care for state employees, public school teachers and former employees covered by a state health insurance plan, settling another in a string of lawsuits against Georgia agencies aiming to force them to… pic.twitter.com/a6Fw2zWxaD
— Wayne DuPree (@WayneDupreeShow) October 21, 2023
Scripps News reports:
The December lawsuit argued the insurance plan illegally discriminated by refusing to pay for gender-affirming care.
“There’s no justification, morally, medically, legally or in any other way for treating transgender health care as different and denying people access to it,” David Brown, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a phone interview Thursday.
The state Department of Community Health, which oversees the insurance plan, did not immediately respond Thursday to an email seeking comment.
The state will also pay a total of $365,000 to the plaintiffs and their lawyers as part of the settlement. Micha Rich, Benjamin Johnson and an anonymous state employee suing on behalf of her adult child all said they spent money out of their own pockets that should have been covered by insurance.
Starting July 1, Georgia legally barred new patients under the age of 18 from starting hormone therapy and banned most gender-affirming surgeries for transgender people under 18. That law, challenged in court but still in effect, lets doctors prescribe puberty-blocking medications and allows minors already receiving hormone therapy to continue.
But Brown said Thursday’s settlement requires the health plan to pay for care deemed medically necessary for spouses and dependents as well as employees. That means the health plan could be required to pay for care for minors outside the state even though it’s prohibited in Georgia.
Georgia taxpayers will now pay for state employees and teachers to get sex changes.
Because The State Health Benefit Plan was sued by Several state employees alleged that they were victims of illegal discrimination because their coverage did not include gender affirming care. pic.twitter.com/GXDhx2jHns
— Lisa Marie (@Lisamarie1577) October 21, 2023
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit settled Thursday included three transgender men. Micha Rich is a staff accountant at the Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts, and Benjamin Johnson is a media clerk with the Bibb County School District in Macon. The mother of the third man, identified only as John Doe, is a Division of Family and Children Services worker in Paulding County and covers the college student on her insurance.
All three were assigned female at birth but transitioned after therapy. All three appealed their denials for top surgery to reduce or remove breasts and won findings from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that Georgia was discriminating against them.
“I am thrilled to know that none of my trans colleagues will ever have to go through what I did,” Rich said in a statement.
11 Alive aired this video report: