Illinois Becomes 20th State to Force Taxpayers to Foot the Bill for Transgender Surgery
Far-left activists don't just want Americans to approve of transgender ideology and to call people by preferred pronouns unmoored from biological sex — they also want to force taxpayers to foot the bill for dangerous experimental surgeries that leave people infertile and scarred for life.
On December 23, Illinois joined 19 other states and the District of Columbia to explicitly require Medicaid to pay for transgender surgeries. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the state's primary Medicaid agency, published new administrative rules mandating the coverage of certain "gender-affirming" services. Illinois formerly excluded "transsexual surgery" from the taxpayer-funded program.
"Health care is a right, not a privilege, and I’m committed to ensuring our LGBTQ community and all Illinoisans have access to that right," Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D-Ill.) said in a statement in April. "Expanding Medicaid to cover gender affirming surgeries is cost effective, helps avoid long-term health consequences, and most importantly is the right thing to do. With continued attacks coming from Washington, this administration will always stand with our transgender community and their right to lead safe and healthy lives."
Almost everything in this statement was dead wrong. Health care should not be considered a "right," because it involves the hard work of doctors and nurses, who deserved to be compensated for their work. Perhaps most importantly, however, the idea that "gender-affirming" surgeries help "avoid long-term health consquences" is false, as is the idea that covering these surgeries is necessarily "the right thing to do."
Transgender activists have pushed this narrative based on the idea that the only way to curb the high rate of suicide among people who identify themselves as transgender is to force society to accept transgender identity. Te thinking goes like this: When transgender people have surgery to "affirm" their identity as the opposite sex, they will be less likely to commit suicide. Therefore, transgender surgery is essential to their health, and the government paying for it actually saves money in the long run.
The evidence actually suggests the opposite. While there are few long-term studies on transgender health available, the most thorough follow-up study involving transgender people — extending over 30 years and conducted in Sweden, where there is a strong pro-transgender culture — found that transgender surgery does not paper over mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone the surgery rose to 20 times that of their peers!
Many of those who undergo the surgery experience deep and painful regret.
"Now that I’m all healed from the surgeries, I regret them," a 19-year-old man who had himself surgically mutilated to affirm a female identity, wrote in a letter. "The result of the bottom surgery looks like a Frankenstein hack job at best, and that got me thinking critically about myself. I had turned myself into a plastic-surgery facsimile of a woman, but I knew I still wasn’t one. I became (and to an extent, still feel) deeply depressed."
Transgender activist Jazz Jennings experienced complications during the surgery to remove his male genitals, leaving him with scars across the top of his legs.
Even those who stopped shy of the genital mutilation have found themselves permanently scarred.
"I am a real, live 22-year-old woman, with a scarred chest and a broken voice, and five o'clock shadow because I couldn’t face the idea of growing up to be a woman, that’s my reality," admitted Cari Stella.
The medical establishment has rushed to affirm transgender "health care" that often involves giving healthy people a disease or urging genital mutilation on perfectly healthy men and women.
After the case of the 6-year-old boy James Younger seized national attention, states across the nation are expected to pass laws protecting children from the damaging effects of transgender drugs.
Yet Illinois joined 19 other states and the District of Columbia in going the opposite direction — forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for transgender surgery. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin also use Medicaid funds for transgender surgery.
Sixty-two percent of Americans said employers should be able to opt-out of covering transgender surgeries, and 80 percent of them said doctors and medical professionals should be able to opt-out of performing surgeries they think dangerous to their patients. If businesses should be able to opt-out of footing the bill for dangerous and controversial surgeries, why shouldn't taxpayers?
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.