The Hill :
The Health and Human Services Department said early Friday that it would accept public comments on whether to reexamine its decision not to cover sex changes.
But a spokesperson said Friday evening that the proposal has been withdrawn. HHS pulled information from its website Friday after various news media outlets reported on the issue.
Just to give you an idea of how this went down, check out the URL for that story: http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/medicare/291063-hhs-board-to-consider-covering-sex-changes-under-medicare-medicaid [emphasis mine]
Charlton Heston got twelve hours on network TV. I got a news story that I had to share with its own retraction.
This leads me to a pair of observations for the Obama administration:
First: I don't know if you've heard this before, but HOLY MOTHER OF REAGAN YOU ASSHOLES ARE REALLY BAD AT THIS SHIT.
I mean, I get it, I really do. There are people who get really pissed off when you collect taxes in return for social services. After your healthcare reforms, the Republicans decided that they're not going to ever confirm any of your nominees to run the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). Then there was the whole consideration of whether religious institutions are required to provide their employees with birth control, which clearly ended well for everyone involved.
Still, HOW HARD IS THIS SHIT?
I mean, let's say you're thinking about making Medicaid and Medicare trans*-inclusive. You've got a few options:
1) Just fucking do it already. If anyone asks you questions, explain to them that it's the 21st goddamned century.
2) Open a public comment period to collect feedback on whether to revise the current prohibition on CMS funding for "transsexual surgery for sex reassignment of transsexuals." Even though it's probably not necessary to hold a listening period, why the hell not? Rock the vote, etc..,
If you're nervous that bigots will get all pissy and suddenly reiterate their objections to your existence, you can always open comment on the Friday that starts a holiday weekend. If anyone questions you or otherwise starts talking shit, you can either ignore them (making them look like assholes) or point out that it's the 21st goddamned century (making them look like even bigger assholes).
3) Decide not to do a fucking thing and go golfing or whatthefuckever. While this third strategy doesn't actually help trans* people, it does give you the credibility of not looking like the kind of arrogant, out of touch wankstain who uses trans* people as political pawns. Option 3 also doesn't rile up the birthers.
Instead, you opted for the accidental trial balloon. WHAT. THE. FUCK. I, just, uh, how sloppy do you have to be? In order to make that mistake, you'd have to either:
a) Be so divorced from trans* people's realities that you somehow didn't realize that a public comment period would be somewhat controversial. Dude, last time I checked, my whole fucking existence is controversial.
b) Be the kind of "strong ally" who gets totally caught off-guard when someone in your administration actually stands up for what you claim to believe in. (Speaking of which, if this fiasco dealt with cis people's shit, this is about the time I'd expect to hear an apology that may or may not include a firing and/or resignation. But whatever, it's not like your team totally flubbed the handling of an issue that affects real people. :cough:)
I know there are people who are excited that you've got a super secret plan to fix everything now that there's a behind-the-scenes "administrative challenge", but um, when aren't trans* people challenging this shit?
Am I supposed to be excited that one of the most powerful entities in the federal government might grant trans* people some access to some healthcare in return for not being all embarrassing and public about it? Not really. When I came out, one of the regional doctors that prescribed hormones only did so on the agreement that patients who saw hir did so under false pretenses. Fuck that. I'm not ashamed of my healthcare. Are you?
And what has CMS done for me lately? Here are some things they might try:
1) A rule that requires insurance plans to be trans*-inclusive as a prerequisite of being part of health insurance exchanges
2) A rule that bars facilities that discrimination against trans* patients from receiving CMS funds.
Second, have you fucking read the determination
Indications and Limitations of CoverageYeeeeeeah. That was written in 1981, the first year of Reagan's presidency. If it's controversial to revisit the Reagan administration's positions on LGBT rights and science, this seems as good a time as any, you know?
Transsexual surgery for sex reassignment of transsexuals is controversial. Because of the lack of well controlled, long term studies of the safety and effectiveness of the surgical procedures and attendant therapies for transsexualism, the treatment is considered experimental. Moreover, there is a high rate of serious complications for these surgical procedures. For these reasons, transsexual surgery is not covered.