(HealthDay)—Several health care-related organizations have filed an amicus brief in support of veterans seeking a rule change that would amend or repeal the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) policy of not covering sex-reassignment surgery (SRS) for veterans with gender dysphoria, according to a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).
The AMA has joined the brief, which notes that the VA covers all medically necessary care for transgender veterans except SRS. The brief argues that gender dysphoria can result in clinically significant psychological distress, depression, self-mutilation, and thoughts of and attempts at suicide.
AMA policy supports health insurance coverage for treatment of gender dysphoria as recommended by patients' physicians, noting that the financial cost of transgender individuals in the military is a rounding error in the defense budget and should not be used as an excuse to deny these Americans an opportunity to serve their country. AMA policy also affirms that transgender service members should be provided with care according to the same medical standards that apply to nontransgender personnel.
"Blanket bans on SRS—such as the VA's ban—disrupt continuity of patient care," the brief states. "This disruption of continuity of care runs contrary to the health care needs of transgender veterans, which the VA well understands."
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