April 16, 2014 | by Staff reports
Trans workers in Boston eligible for health coverage
Martin J. Walsh, Marty Walsh, Democratic Party, workers in Boston, Massachusetts, gay news, Washington Blade

Boston Mayor Martin “Marty” Walsh. Photo by David Parsons; courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

BOSTON — City workers in Boston seeking gender reassignment surgery would for the first time have their care covered by health insurance under a City Council proposal supported by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, the Boston Globe reports.

City Councilors at Large Michelle Wu and Ayanna Pressley said they planned this week to file a proposal that would guarantee transgender city employees access to gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy and mental health services, the article said.

Wu said on April 11 that the ordinance is meant to affirm human rights for transgender people and also make city jobs attractive and welcoming to the widest range of talent.

“The city of Boston and our city government should be doing everything we can to make sure we are doing that with the most inclusive policies,” Wu was quoted as having said in the Globe. “It’s the best business decision, as well as the right thing to do.”

Walsh recently recommended a coverage mandate for transgender treatment to the city’s Public Employee Committee, which advises officials on health care and other human resources issues, according to his spokeswoman, Kate Norton. With Boston’s strong-mayor form of government, Walsh’s backing is the surest sign the measure will become reality, the Globe reports.

Walsh asked that the mandate take effect on July 1, when the city begins its new fiscal year, Norton said. The committee discussed the proposal at a meeting last week but did not vote, the Globe reports.

The ordinance set to be filed by Wu and Pressley would ban the city from contracting with any health insurer that denies benefits or “discriminates in the amount of premium, policy fees, or rates charged” on the basis of gender identity, according to a draft provided to the Globe last week.

It grew out of the Elevate Boston Coalition, cofounded by Pressley during last year’s mayoral race to highlight issues affecting women and girls, communities of color, and the LGBT community.

Transgender city workers are guaranteed medical treatment by statutes in San Francisco; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Washington, D.C.; and other U.S. cities, according to Andrew Cray, a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress, an independent nonpartisan educational institute in Washington.

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