Republican lawmakers recently advanced a bill that would prevent private companies that manage care for most of Tennessee’s Medicaid program from contracting with the state if they cover gender-transitioning medical care.
The legislation comes after a slew of anti-trans legislation across the country this year, and isn’t the first proposal targeting transgender people in Tennessee.
TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, provides health insurance to over one million low-income citizens, including pregnant women, children, caretaker relatives of dependent children and older adults, and disabled adults. According to the bill, TennCare, could no longer contract with managed care organizations if they provide coverage for gender-transition treatment in Tennessee or in anywhere– no matter the state’s laws regarding trans health care. The rule would apply to all patients regardless of age. Republican Rep. Tim Rudd said that insurance companies should not use Tennessee dollars to cover such medical treatments in other states.
US News reached out to TennCare for commentary but their spokesperson did not respond.
“We’re seeing these bills take lots of different forms across the country,” Cathryn Oakley, the group’s state legislative director and legal counsel, said on a call with reporters, according to US News.
“We’re also seeing lots of bills that would prevent any kinds of public funds like Medicaid or public facilities including doctors and hospitals from being able to be used to provide gender affirming care,” she continued.
LGBTQ advocates rallied outside the Capitol earlier this month to show their disapproval of Republicans for advancing bills targeting the trans community.
Inclusion Tennessee founder Phil Cobucci, called out Republican Gov. Bill Lee, who often speaks of his religion, saying, “Are these bills part of the tenets of your faith? Are they compassionate? Do they love your neighbor? Do they help others? I assert here that they do not. What would your Jesus do? And it’s not this.”
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