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  • Writer's pictureMary Jones

Navada's GOP Governor Signs Controversial Bill Mandating Coverage for Transgender Surgeries

Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo, a Republican, made headlines on June 12 when he signed a bill requiring health insurance companies to cover transgender surgeries. This move defies the national trend among Republican governors who oppose such medical procedures. Lombardo's decision follows the lead of Oregon's Democratic governor, who signed a similar law in May.

Photo Courtesy of Spirit of Virginia.

The new law in Nevada, which mandates health insurance coverage for all transgender surgeries, reflects a progressive stance on transgender rights. Lombardo's support for the bill is noteworthy, considering the prevailing opposition from Republican governors in other states who have signed legislation banning transgender surgeries and hormone treatments for minors.

Furthermore, Lombardo has taken additional steps to support transgender rights in the state. Earlier in June, he signed a second bill that requires the Nevada Department of Corrections to establish mental and physical health standards for transgender and gender-nonconforming inmates, as well as cultural competency training for officers. These actions demonstrate the governor's commitment to promoting inclusivity and equitable treatment for transgender individuals within the criminal justice system.

Nevada's legislature, which has a Democratic majority, has been proactive in passing bills that support transgender medical procedures and policies. Lombardo's decision to sign the bill aligns him with the six state legislatures with Democratic majorities that have shown support for transgender rights.

Despite receiving criticism from within his own party for some of his recent decisions, including signing a bill that protects physicians who provide abortions, Lombardo has remained steadfast in his support for transgender rights. However, the governor has also faced criticism from transgender advocates for vetoing a measure on June 3 that aimed to protect providers of transgender surgeries from losing their medical licenses and prevent the executive branch from assisting in out-of-state prosecutions related to transgender procedures. Critics argue that the lack of these protections could exacerbate Nevada's shortage of providers willing to perform the procedures.

Some observers suggest that Lombardo's June 3 veto may have inadvertently influenced insurance companies in Nevada to consider more significant transgender surgeries as "medically necessary" rather than "cosmetic," leading to increased coverage for these procedures. This unintended consequence has drawn mixed reactions from different quarters.

Governor Joe Lombardo, a former Clark County sheriff, made history as the only Republican to unseat a Democratic incumbent governor in the 2022 midterm elections. His controversial decisions in support of transgender rights have drawn both praise and criticism, highlighting the divisions within his own party. Lombardo's actions position Nevada as a state at the forefront of transgender rights.

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