Nevada’s Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo has signed a bill requiring health insurers cover gender-affirming care for transgender minors and adults, bucking recent trends as other GOP-led states across the country advance anti-LGBTQ legislation.
The bill, SB163, mandates that health insurers, including Medicaid, cover all medically necessary gender-affirming treatments and eliminate exclusions that have historically been used to avoid paying for treatments classified as “cosmetic.”
SB163 had passed on party-line votes out of the Legislature without a single Republican voting in its favor.
“I think it’s a powerful symbol, actually, to have a Republican governor sign a bill like that,” Sen. Dallas Harris (D-Las Vegas), one of the co-sponsors of the bill, told The Nevada Independent Monday night. “I’m thrilled.”
“This bill goes a long ways toward clarifying access to medically necessary treatments for transgender people,” said transgender rights advocate Brooke Maylath in a phone call Tuesday.
Lombardo told reporters that all the bill does is mandate the insurance industry to continue following existing state policy.
Sigal Chattah, the state’s Republican National Committeewoman and candidate for attorney general in 2022, slammed Lombardo’s signing of the bill, calling him a “laughingstock.” The Nevada Republican Party also opposed the bill ahead of its first hearing in the Legislature.
“I implore people to read the bill in its entirety and you will see it is not as draconian or detrimental or immoral as people are portraying it to be,” he said. “It’s for the benefit of the whole versus the few.”
We asked Gov. Joe Lombardo (R) why he signed SB163, which requires health insurers to cover gender-affirming care.
"I implore people to read the bill … it's not as draconian or detrimental or immoral as people are portraying it to be."
— Ben Margiott (@BenMargiott) June 13, 2023