RESOLUTION 122
Subject: Removing Financial Barriers to Care for Transgender Patients

Whereas, Our American Medical Association opposes discrimination on the basis of gender identity; and

Whereas, Gender Identity Disorder (GID) is a serious medical condition recognized as such in both the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition (DSM-IV) and the International Classification of Diseases (10th Revision); and is characterized in  the DSM-IV as a persistent discomfort with one's assigned sex and with one's primary and secondary sex characteristics, which causes intense emotional pain and suffering; and

Whereas, GID, if left untreated, can result in clinically significant psychological distress, dysfunction, debilitating depression and, for some people without access to appropriate medical care and treatment, suicidality and death; and
 
Whereas, The World Profession for Transgender Health, Inc. (WPATH) is the leading international, interdisciplinary professional organization devoted to the understanding and treatment of gender identity disorders, and has established internationally accepted Standards of  Care for providing medical treatment of people with GID, including mental health care, hormone therapy, and sex reassignment surgery, which are designed to promote the health and welfare of persons with GID and are recognized within the medical community to be the standard of care for treating people with GID; and
 
Whereas, An established body of medical research demonstrates the effectiveness and medical necessity of mental health care, hormone therapy, and sex reassignment surgery as forms of therapeutic treatment for many people diagnosed with GID; and
 
Whereas, Health experts in GID, including WPATH, have rejected the myth that such treatments are "cosmetic" or "experimental" and have recognized that these treatments can provide safe and effective treatment for a serious health condition; and
 
Whereas, Physicians treating persons with GID must be able to provide the correct treatment necessary for a patient in order to achieve genuine and lasting comfort with his or her gender, based on the person's individual needs and medical history; and
 
Whereas, Our AMA opposes limitations placed on patient care by third-party payers when such care is based upon sound scientific evidence and sound medical opinion; and
 
Whereas, Many health insurance plans categorically exclude coverage of mental health, medical, and surgical treatments for GID, even though many of these same treatments, such as psychotherapy, hormone therapy, breast augmentation or removal, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, orchiectomy, and salpingectomy, are often covered for other medical  conditions; and
 
Whereas, The denial of these otherwise covered benefits for patients suffering from GID represents discrimination based solely on a patient's gender identity; and
 
Whereas, Delaying treatment for GID can cause and/or aggravate additional serious and expensive health problems, such as stress-related physical illnesses, depression, and substance abuse problems, which further endanger patients' health and strain the health care system; therefore be it
 
RESOLVED, That our American Medical Association support public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender identity disorder as recommended by the patient's physician. (New HOD Policy).

The National Center for Transgender Equality is a national social justice organization devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people through education and advocacy on national issues of importance to transgender people. The National Center for Transgender Equality is a 501(c)3 organization.  For more information, please visit www.nctequality.org.

 

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