OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced joining a coalition of 18 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in Kadel v. Folwell in support of transgender rights and equal access to healthcare. The friend-of-the-court brief, filed before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, is in support of transgender individuals who had been unlawfully denied coverage for gender-affirming care under the North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees.
“Plain and simple: Gender-affirming care is healthcare,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Transgender Americans, like all Americans, are entitled to equal protection under the law, including access to medically necessary care. California will not back down in the face of discrimination wherever it occurs. No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves to live with dignity and respect.”
The amicus brief argues that the Fourth Circuit should affirm a lower court ruling which determined that the North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees’ denial of medically necessary gender-affirming care on the basis of sex violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The coalition argues that discrimination against transgender people constitutes discrimination based on sex and violates the Equal Protection Clause. 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 state employee healthcare plans cover medically necessary 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. The states achieved these improvements without significantly increasing premium costs or expenses to insurers and plan sponsors, contrary to the alleged justification for their ban put forward by defendant North Carolina Health Care Plan.
In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of New York, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
A copy of the amicus brief is available here.