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HHS Sued Over Rule Making Taxpayers Fund Trans Procedures

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Headquarters | Image by JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Headquarters | Image by JHVEPhoto/Shutterstock

Texas AG Ken Paxton and Montana AG Austin Knudsen have filed a joint lawsuit against the Biden administration over its rule to fund transgender procedures with taxpayer dollars under Medicaid and Medicare.

The attorneys general sued Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) over its new rule under the Affordable Care Act that prohibits discrimination in healthcare based on “gender identity.” The lawsuit states this rule would force the states of Texas and Montana to fund transgender procedures under Medicaid and Medicare.

Texas and Montana have laws that ban transgender procedures on minors, meaning the HHS rule could compel the states to fund procedures that violate state regulations. The lawsuit aims to stop the enforcement of the rule.

“This is yet another example of Joe Biden trying to sidestep the Constitution and use agency rulemaking to advance unpopular, unlawful, and destructive policies,” Paxton said.

“We are suing to stop the Biden Administration from withholding federal healthcare funds to force medical professionals to perform these experimental and dangerous procedures,” Paxton added.

The lawsuit states the HHS rule threatens to strip health centers of federal healthcare funding if they refuse to provide procedures such as hormone inhibitors, transgender hormone usage, and crossgender surgeries.

According to the lawsuit, the HHS rule is the fourth attempt by the federal government since the Obama administration to expand healthcare protections based on “gender identity.” The previous three were challenged in court.

“The fourth time is not the charm,” the lawsuit asserts. “HHS’s latest attempt to refashion the medical profession to match its views on ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender-affirming care’ again exceeds its authority under Section 1557, Title IX, and the United States Constitution, and it must be set aside.”

“Healthcare providers should not be forced to perform dangerous and life-altering experimental procedures under the threat of losing the federal funding they rely on to keep their doors open. And the states should not be compelled to foot the bill for treatments that are leaving people, even children, with irreversible damage,” Knudsen declared.

Thus far, some U.S. courts have seemingly disagreed.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia ruled 8-6 earlier this year that North Carolina’s state employee health insurance plan and West Virginia’s Medicaid program were discriminatory for not covering transgender surgeries.

The appeals court decision considered and upheld two lower court rulings stemming from separate but similar lawsuits filed by transgender plaintiffs from each state.

“These two cases present the same question,” the Fourth Circuit opinion read. “Do healthcare plans that cover medically necessary treatments for certain diagnoses but bar coverage of those same medically necessary treatments for a diagnosis unique to transgender patients violate either the Equal Protection Clause or other provisions of federal law? We hold that they do, and therefore affirm the judgments of the district courts.”

After the ruling, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs celebrated the determination.

“The court’s decision sends a clear message that gender-affirming care is critical medical care for transgender people and that denying it is harmful and unlawful,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan of the LGBTQ group Lambda Legal.

Nonetheless, Montana’s AG Knudsen has slammed the recent HHS rule as federal overreach and an attack by the Biden administration on Montana’s values.

“This is another attempt by the Biden administration to force the left’s radical gender ideology on Americans,” he claimed.

“Biden has once again overstepped his authority and I will not stand by while he continues his assault on the Constitution and our Montana values.”

HHS did not respond to DX‘s request for comment.

The Biden administration established regulations at several federal agencies to expand discrimination laws to include gender identity as a protected class, many of which Paxton has sued to stop, as reported by DX.

Most recently, the Department of Justice indicted the whistleblower at Texas Children’s Hospital who exposed how doctors secretly provided transgender treatments to minors, reported by DX.

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