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Mayor Sam Adams supports trans-inclusive healthcare for city employees

Twitter was all abuzz yesterday with with the news that Mayor Sam Adams has issued a press release proposing trans-inclusive health care coverage for city employees (well, that and the the Stumptown Coffee sellout). Some called him an “idiot” while others backed him up Sam Adams stays mayorsaying that if supporting fairness made you an idiot they’d gladly be one.

You can read the entire statement below:

This week, Mayor Sam Adams is filing an ordinance for City Council on June 8 that would add trans-inclusive health care benefits, including sexual reassignment surgery, to one of the plans offered to City of Portland employees. The American Medical Association (AMA) has identified transgender health care as being medically necessary. In 2008, the AMA passed a resolution supporting public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender identity disorder and opposing the “exclusions of coverage for treatment of gender identity disorder when prescribed by a physician.”

“As Mayor, it is important to me that we attract and retain the best and brightest employees to the City of Portland. Offering non-discriminatory health care benefits–as leading employers like Nike, Google, Microsoft and IBM do–is one way to accomplish that goal,” Mayor Adams said. “Covering basic, medically-necessary care is a matter of fairness, and it’s the right thing to do.”

“We all know someone who has been denied medically necessary care by an insurance company,” said Jeana Frazzini, executive director of Basic Rights Oregon. “This proposal would ensure that decisions about health care are made between doctor and patient.”

The City of Portland currently offers two health care plans to City employees, City employees an insured plan through Kaiser and a self insured plan. If approved by council, the City’s self-insured CityCore plan, which covers 66 percent of employees, would cover sexual reassignment surgery. Hormone therapy and counseling are already covered by this plan. The additional cost for adding coverage for sexual reassignment surgery is $32,302 out of a $41,615,000 CityCore Cost Projection for 2011-12, an .08 percent increase.

The City and County of San Francisco have provided this medically necessary care to employees since 2001, and have found that actual costs were far lower than anticipated. Multnomah County also offers trans-inclusive health care benefits to employees. The cities of Seattle and Berkeley are currently considering offering this coverage.

Currently, 22 percent of Fortune 100 Companies as well as many Oregon businesses—large and small—offer inclusive health care to all employees, including healthcare for transgender employees.

1 comment to Mayor Sam Adams supports trans-inclusive healthcare for city employees

  • Camille Hopkins

    Congratulations to Mayor Adams for recognizing the often ignored medical needs of transgender city employees. Portland should be proud of having progressive elected officials.