07/24/2012 06:45 pm ET Updated Sep 23, 2012

Healthy San Francisco And Transgender Procedures: Resolution Would Change City's Universal Health Care Code

This article comes to us courtesy of SF Weekly's The Snitch.

By Jeff Sandstoe

Healthy San Francisco, the city's attempt at universal healthcare, has helped many local residents who don't have health insurance receive affordable medical treatment. But who is hasn't helped entirely are San Francisco's transgender residents seeking certain medical procedures, such as gender reassignment surgery.

But as Justice John Roberts proved last month -- times are a changin'.

Supervisor Scott Wiener is hoping his colleagues today will continue that change and support his resolution urging the Department of Public Health to withdraw exclusions in the healthcare system and allow members of the transgender community receive procedures that currently are only allocated for non-transgender people.

"This is a glaring inequity in the system," Wiener told SF Weekly. "In San Francisco, we value healthcare, but we also value treating people equally ... this is a way to do just that."

What exactly does this mean for the transgender community? Wiener explained that currently, a non-transgender female patient who needs a hysterectomy would be covered under Healthy SF, but a transgender female-to-male patient would not be -- and isn't that discrimination?

Currently, gender reassignment surgery is considered elective, however, as Wiener notes in his resolution, plenty of "studies have concluded that receiving medically necessary transition related treatment results in a dramatic drop in suicidality, an overall improvement in mental health, a reduction in HIV infection, a decline in substance abuse rates, and an increase in socioeconomic status for transgender people."

Wiener says that he worked with the DPH every step of the way in drafting the resolution and that the department is on board with his plan. It has received widespread support thus far so Wiener expects it will pass at the Bord of Supervisors meeting today with little debate.

And although a resolution won't make any changes to the law, it's definitely a good start for San Francisco.

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