Transgender Law Center extends our most exuberant congratulations to our friends at Basic Rights Oregon and all of the transgender people and their families who made this tremendous victory happen.
Transgender individuals are routinely denied medically necessary health care based solely on their gender identity, but that’s about to change — in a big way — in Oregon.
In the week before Christmas, the Oregon Insurance Division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services quietly issued a bulletin clarifying that Senate Bill 2 — the law passed in 2007 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (defined to include gender identity) — requires equal treatment for transgender Oregonians in medical treatment.
“This is, I think, a huge victory for the transgender community in Oregon. This is really making clear what trans folks know – that we deserve equal healthcare access,” saysBasic Rights Oregon‘s Trans Justice Manager tash shatz. “It’s such an incredible thing that it’s kind of hard to describe how big a deal it is.”
The clarification comes more than 5 years after the passage of the non-discrimination law, following pressure from BRO’s Trans Working Group and complaints from transgender Oregonians denied coverage of medical treatments on the basis of their gender identity. While it’s not clear how the bulletin (officially released Dec. 19) will affect federally managed insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan), it does apply to all private insurers transacting in Oregon.