The REAP Act addressing such procedures passed the Mississippi House and out of committee in the Senate.
The Mississippi Division of Medicaid has released a treatment position addressed to health plan presidents regarding gender dysphoria in children and adolescents.
In the letter written by the Executive Director for Medicaid, Drew Snyder, he states that after further review, the Mississippi Division of Medicaid has concurred with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (Florida Medicaid) and determined that medical literature does not indicate enough evidence to pursue sex reassignment as an effective treatment for gender dysphoria.
“Furthermore, Mississippi Medicaid agrees with AHCA’s view that available evidence demonstrates these treatments cause irreversible physical changes and side effects that can affect long-term health.”
The letter welcomed thoughts and input from the health plan presidents of Molina Healthcare of Mississippi, United Healthcare, and Magnolia Health Plan, as their organizations largely impact children and adolescents.
The letter comes amid a push from lawmakers at the Mississippi Capitol to prevent an organization or individual from providing gender transition procedures, including hormone replacement, for anyone under the age of 18. This treatment would be prevented regardless of parental consent.
The bill, HB 1125, known as the Regulate Experimental Adolescent Procedures (REAP) Act, passed the House by a vote of 78-30. It awaits consideration by the full Senate after passing out of the Senate Judiciary B Committee.
Special interest groups joined several lawmakers in January for a “Do No Harm” rally aimed at pushing for the prevention of sexual reassignment treatments for minors.
“We are concerned about the health and consequences that go along with gender transitioning,” said Speaker Philip Gunn at the rally. “We have decided as a society that children are not always capable of making decisions based on age, lack of maturity and lack of understanding. Is there any more consequential decision than changing one’s sex?”
Those opposed to the move gathered at the state Capitol on Wednesday. Transgendered teens joined by their parents and others called for lawmakers to dismiss the legislation. Parents in attendance expressed concern that lawmakers were interfering in decisions they have made with their own children, according to the Associated Press.
“It’s time for us to speak out and make our voices heard to fight back against this cruel attack on trans youth. A coalition of organizations in Mississippi will join with the LGBTQ+ and allied community at the State Capitol in Jackson, Mississippi for a protest and rally against this shameful legislation. We must take action to protect trans youth in our state,” read the rally organizers’ Facebook page.
The Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine reported that there are at least 60 pediatrics “gender clinics” with upwards of 300 healthcare clinics who offer the hormonal interventions.
Senior Council for the Alliance Defending Freedom, Matt Sharp, has said the legislation is about regulating the medical industry from doing something that could be considered unethical and understudied.
“Something that Mississippi and other states have long done is regulate professions and make sure that no profession is engaging in unethical conduct,” Sharp told the crowd at the Do No Harm rally in January. “Based on the science and European countries that are pulling back from this saying they are no longer going to allow children to go through puberty blockers and hormones, but instead focus on psychological interventions. Mississippi is simply taking a step to ensure medical professionals are not doing this on minors.”
Dr. Mike Artigues, President-elect of the American College of Pediatricians, said there are other courses of treatment to be considered that take into account other mental health issues that children who suffer from gender dysmorphia often exhibit.
“If we take the Hippocratic oath seriously, here in Mississippi and across the country, we need to look at all the evidence that is available,” Dr. Artigues implored those gathered at the Jackson rally in support of the bill. “When we do this, we can see what is actually being heralded in some circles as a standard of care is actually causing physical or emotional harm on our patients, as opposed to noninvasive, and equally effective mental health treatments.”
You can read the letter from the Mississippi Division of Medicaid here.