Judge rules Iowa law can’t block Medicaid coverage of gender confirming surgery

DES MOINES — A district court judge has ruled an Iowa law that blocks Medicaid coverage of gender confirming surgery is unconstitutional.

The ACLU of Iowa filed a lawsuit after Aiden Vasquez and Mika Covington were denied state-paid Medicaid coverage for surgeries their doctors said were medically necessary to treat gender dysphoria. Judge William P. Kelly’s ruling says those denials violated the Iowa Civil Rights Act and Iowa’s Constitution.

The legal director for the ACLU of Iowa says it’s a historic win for transgender Iowans. A spokesman for Governor Kim Reynolds says the governor’s office disagrees with the ruling and is exploring all options, including appealing the district court’s ruling to the Iowa Supreme Court.