Attorney General Bonta Combats Healthcare Discrimination by Filing Multistate Amicus Brief to Protect the Rights of Transgender Americans

Monday, May 1, 2023
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OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced leading a multistate coalition of eight attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in Dekker v. Weida in support of transgender rights and equal access to healthcare. The amicus brief filed before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida is in support of transgender individuals challenging an administrative rule for gender-affirming care by the State of Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. The newly adopted Florida Rule prohibits Medicaid coverage of services for the treatment of gender dysphoria, which was previously available to transgender individuals. 

“Plain and simple: Gender-affirming care is healthcare,” said Attorney General Bonta. "The Florida Rule targets a vulnerable population seeking healthcare benefits that they are eligible for under federal law. Transgender Americans, like all Americans, are entitled to access to medically necessary care. I join my fellow attorneys general to ensure transgender rights to healthcare are protected and fully available. California will not back down in the face of discrimination, wherever it occurs.”

The amicus brief argues that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida should reject the Florida Rule that categorically excludes Medicaid healthcare services to individuals who are medically diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The coalition argues that discrimination against transgender people causes tangible economic, emotional, and health consequences. The amicus brief also highlights the efforts of states across the country to protect transgender healthcare rights, including prohibiting healthcare discrimination on the basis of transgender identity and ensuring that states apply Medicaid regulations to cover gender-affirming care.

These policies have categorically improved the well-being of transgender people, reducing the risk of substance abuse, depression, and other health-related issues. Transgender people are more likely to experience poverty and difficulty accessing medical services, often relying on Medicaid as their only option for health insurance. The states argue that the Florida Rule permits discrimination, and the states’ overwhelming experience shows that gender-affirming healthcare improves healthcare outcomes among transgender people and at minimal cost to the states.

In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta was joined by the attorneys general of Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.

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