U Arizona spends tens of thousands on transgender surgery lawsuit

The University of Arizona has spent over $50,000 on a lawsuit filed by a professor who sued the school for not providing insurance coverage for transgender surgeries. 

UA professor Russell B. Toomey filed the lawsuit in January against the university for failure to cover a hysterectomy, part of a female-to-male gender transition program, according to KVOA-TV. 

Lawyers for Toomey say in the lawsuit that gender dysphoria can require “medical steps to affirm one’s gender identity and transition from living as one gender to another.” The amount spent by UA on the lawsuit, $52,386.10, according to KVOA-TV, is more than the cost of the procedure. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, the average cost of a hysterectomy in 2009  is a little under $39,000.

[RELATED: Laverne Cox calls ‘trans-inclusive’ language 'matter of life and death' during Cali commencement speech]

Molly Brizgys, an attorney for Arizona’s ACLU chapter and a representative of Toomey, told KVOA-TV that most states offer this kind of coverage, calling Arizona an “outlier.”

“We wish that the state of Arizona would put its resources toward providing the medically necessary care for transgender employees,” Brizgys said, “rather than defending this discriminatory and unconstitutional exclusion.”

The lawsuit contends UA’s current insurance plan discriminates against Toomey because the plan specifically denies coverage for gender reassignment surgery. 

“The Plan categorically denies all coverage for '[g]ender reassignment surgery' regardless of whether the surgery qualifies as medically necessary,” it states. “Transgender individuals enrolled in the Plan have no opportunity to demonstrate that their transition-related care is medically necessary or to appeal any adverse determination to an independent reviewer.” 

“We believe that since it is not a medical necessity, the University shouldn't need to include [the procedure] in its plan,” University of Arizona College Republicans said in a statement to Campus Reform. “It is one's choice to go through with that procedure. We do not see it as unconstitutional, but it's definitely not constitutional to force the University to pay because of one's choice to go through with an optional procedure.”

Twelve states, including Ari

Read more: https://www.campusreform.org/?ID=13429


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