ACLU Condemns Group Insurance Board’s Decision to Capitulate to Effort to Reinstate Anti-Transgender Health Care Exclusion
The ACLU of Wisconsin condemned the Group Insurance Board’s capitulation to pressure from Attorney General Brad Schimel and Gov. Scott Walker’s insurance commissioner to rescind the GIB’s earlier decision to update state employees’ health insurance plans to cover transition-related care for transgender employees. The coverage of such medically necessary care, which was approved unanimously by the GIB in July 2016, was to take effect on January 1, 2017. But the GIB met on December 30, 2016, and, after three hours in closed session, voted to rescind these essential benefits, if certain conditions are met.
“The state’s willingness to pull the rug out from under its transgender employees by putting their access to coverage at risk is cruel and mean-spirited,” said ACLU of Wisconsin Legal Director Larry Dupuis. “After finally promising its employees access to care that the medical community agrees is necessary for many transgender individuals, the state has elected to renew its arbitrary targeting of transgender people for discrimination by forcing them to pay out-of-pocket for treatments that are available for non-transgender state employees to treat other medical conditions. The Board – which includes a designee from the Attorney General’s office – got it right in July when it unanimously ended this discriminatory exclusion. It should live up to the promise it made to its employees then.”
Dupuis and John A. Knight of the ACLU’s national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV Project represent two transgender state employees who filed challenges to the exclusion with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Those charges currently remain pending before the EEOC.