DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Iowa Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that the state's Medicaid program may not deny gender-affirming surgery for transgender people seeking medically necessary care for gender dysphoria .
The district court concluded Iowa Administrative Code ruled that doing so would be a violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act and the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution. "On appeal, IDHS argues: 1) transgender Medicaid beneficiaries are similarly situated to, and treated the same as, all other Medicaid beneficiaries; 2) IDHS is not a “public accommodation” under the Iowa Civil Rights Act when it makes a benefits determination; and 3) rule 441-78.1(4) does not violate the Iowa Constitution’s equal protection guarantee because it does not discriminate against a protected class and it serves an important government purpose," according to the ruling.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa (ACLU Iowa) is calling the ruling "a historic win for transgender rights in Iowa."
ACLU Iowa says "until today, as a result of Iowa Medicaid's sweeping discriminatory exclusion, all surgical treatments for gender dysphoria were excluded from coverage, even though the same or substantially equivalent treatments are provided to cisgender Iowans. For example, Iowans who are not transgender routinely receive coverage for a medically necessary mastectomy—but a transgender Iowan would be banned from coverage for the same care to treat gender dysphoria regardless of medical need. That's a violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act."
The lawsuit was taken up to Iowa's highest Court by ACLU Iowa, on behalf of EerieAnna Good and Carol Ann Beal after the two women were denied coverage for gender-affirming medical care which was deemed necessary by their doctors.