Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition Disappointed Conservative Members of House Commerce and Labor Subcommittee Defeat Bill To Prohibit Health Insurance Companies From Discriminating Based on Gender Identity
Richmond, Virginia—On Tuesday, conservative members of a House Commerce and Labor Subcommittee defeated HB1466, Delegate Rodman’s bill that would prohibit health insurance companies from discriminating against patients based on gender identity. The Women’s Equality Coalition is disappointed that this bill was defeated because all Virginians, regardless of how they identify, should have access to medically-necessary health care.
“Transgender people, like everyone, deserve to live their lives without healthcare providers denying or limiting coverage because of gender identity. We are disappointed that the Commerce and Labor subcommittee defeated Del. Rodman’s bill despite the recommendation of every major medical association who stand in agreement that transition-related care is medically necessary and should not be excluded from health insurance,” James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia, said. “18 states plus DC have already adopted laws or regulations that protect transgender people from insurance discrimination, and we hope that soon Virginia will join them.”
“No person should be denied health insurance coverage because of who they are. However, transgender patients often face barrier after barrier when seeking health care,” said Jennifer Allen, CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia. “We are disappointed that conservative delegates defeated HB 1466 that would have eliminated health insurance discrimination against transgender individuals.”
“The Conservatives still don’t get it. Gender, gender identity, sexual orientation like any other immutable characteristic should not be used to deny people insurance coverage for necessary medical care. It is shocking that this is not the case in this, the 21st century,” Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia said. “We supported this bill because it would ensure that all Virginians are treated equally when it comes to obtaining health insurance and are able to receive the necessary medical care without facing unfair and archaic discrimination. It seems our Conservative legislators feel that discrimination is acceptable.”
In 2015, nearly one in three (31%) of those who saw a health care provider faced mistreatment or discrimination in a health care setting because they were transgender. Left untreated, gender dysphoria can lead to debilitating anxiety and depression, with serious and costly medical consequences and a significantly increased risk of suicide (41%), substance use, and other mental health conditions.The Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition is made up of 14 organizations across Virginia and is dedicated to dedicated to ensuring that all Virginia women are able to fully participate in social, economic, and political life.