Nevada Legislature bill would require health insurance to cover treatment of gender dysphoria

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 2:31 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A bill in the Nevada Legislature would require health insurance companies to include coverage for treatment of gender dysphoria and other disorders of sexual development without discrimination — if the bill were to pass.

SB163 was the subject of a lengthy discussion Wednesday during the meeting of the Committee on Commerce and Labor, with both support and opposition being heard.

In essence, the bill would also require employers to provide certain health care benefits to employees over the aforementioned conditions and cover the treatment for them. For those under the age of 17 years old, the bill would also include “plans to prescribe requirements that must be satisfied before the insurer will cover surgical treatment” for those conditions.”

Nevada State Sen. Melanie Scheible, who introduced the bill on Feb. 15 with Sen. Dallas Harris and Sen. Pat Spearman, began the meeting Wednesday stating the bill may be the most important thing she would do this legislative session.

“People with these conditions may experience anxiety, depression, social isolation and may seek medical treatment to alleviate their symptoms,” Scheible said. That can include hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgery to align with their gender identity, she added.

She cited a 2022 study by The Trevor Project that found 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the last year. Those who felt supported by their family and communities were half as likely to consider suicide, she said.

Scheible went on to say the bill does not allow children to gain access to gender-affirming care without parental consent.

Brooke Maylath, an employee of the state of Nevada Health and Human Services who said she was representing only herself when speaking Wednesday, spoke about how the bill would benefit transgender Nevadans with meaningful access to healthcare.

“Research and clinical experience evidence show transgender healthcare is effective, safe, and medically necessary for the treatment of gender dysphoria,” Maylath said.

A number of other speakers and callers voiced their support and opposition for the bill.

In a letter submitted to the committee, Jim DeGraffenreid, Republican National Committeeman for Nevada, urged a “no” vote on the matter.

“The most disturbing feature of SB163 is that it enables the exploitation of minors by the medical and education industries. This bill allows children to obtain permanent surgical procedures, paid for by our tax dollars, and does not require any parental notification,” DeGraffenreid wrote. According to Scheible’s statements Wednesday, this is false.

The Libertarian Party of Nevada submitted a letter stating among other claims, the vast majority of children who experience gender dysphoria and are not subject to any intervention will find that their feelings of discomfort in their body resolve “naturally with time,” citing a 2022 article by Antony Latham for the “Scottish Council on Human Bioethics.”

If passed, the bill would become effective July 1.