It has recently come to light that this past January, the state of Oregon changed their laws to allow teenagers 15 years of age to obtain a sex change operation without parental consent and be covered by the Oregon’s Health Plan, Medicaid.
The decision to have sex reassignment surgery covered by Medicaid was made by the Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC). The policy includes cross-sex hormone therapy, puberty suppressing drugs and gender-reassignment surgery.
Sexreassignment surgery (SRS), also known as gender reassignment reconstruction surgery, gender confirmation surgery, sex affirmation surgery, or sex realignment surgery was most recently profiled in the highly publicized story of Bruce Jenner transformating into Caitlyn Jenner.
According to Wikipedia, SRS is a surgical procedure by which a transgender person’s physical appearance and the function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble that of the sex they identify with psychologically.
Dr. Jack Drescher, a member of the APA who worked on the Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Work Group thinks that Oregon is offering the treatments at too young an age.
Jenn Burleton, founder of the Portland non-profit group, TransActive, disagrees.
“Parents may not be supportive,” she says. “They may not be in an environment where they feel the parent will affirm their identity, this may have been going on for years.”
In Burleton’s view, requiring parental consent for sex-change procedures could lead to an increase in teen suicide attempts.
The Oregon Health Authority has not commented on how many Medicaid recipients have been treated for gender dysphoria since the new policy took effect in January.
It estimates that the total cost of adding cross-sex hormone therapy, puberty-suppressing drugs and sex reassignment surgeries to the coverage to be about $150,000 per year.
According to Gendrecenter.Org, it is estimated that about 1 in 30,000 males change to females, and 1 in 100,000 females change to males in a given population.