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[COMMENTARY] What Happened to the Maryland Transgender Health Equity Bill?

[COMMENTARY] What Happened to the Maryland Transgender Health Equity Bill?

A measure to extend Medicaid coverage in Maryland to individuals receiving gender-affirming surgery and treatment has now not just stalled in the state House, it has essentially disappeared.

According to WTOP, the state’s House Health and Government Operations Committee supported Measure HB0-746 when Del. Anne R. Kaiser first introduced it. The panel voted in favor of the bill at the end of March, but now it has vanished from the voting docket. Kaiser hasn’t announced why the legislation is now shelved, but WTOP reports it was likely that the bill didn’t have the votes to get through the House with a robust enough majority. But earlier that week, the Senate had passed an equivalent bill, sponsored by state Sen. Mary L. Washington in a 31-15 party-line vote. Dozens of witnesses testified in favor of the bill in the Senate Finance Committee, and the bill generated no controversy on the Senate floor. And now the Maryland General Assembly’s website no longer lists the committee votes on the identical bills as having happened at all.

(Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images)

Advocates of the measure are saying the real reason it’s disappeared is how the passing of such a bill might impact the midterm elections for candidates on both sides of the House at a time when LGBTQIA+ rights and protections are in danger across the country. At least thirty-four states have passed discriminatory legislation preventing transgender student-athletes from participating in the sports they align with.

Del. Kaiser told WTOP that she and her fellow transgender activists were “especially disappointed” that the record of the committee’s vote in favor of the legislation has disappeared from the General Assembly’s website. “It’s a shame that a community that feels erased now has to deal with this kind of erasure,” she said. But nobody has been able to fully explain what happened to the bill itself, which is now considered dead until next year.

 

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Read the full story at WTOP.

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