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De Blasio Says ‘Medicare For All’ Should Cover Gender Reassignment Surgery

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday he supports a government-run health care system that covers gender reassignment surgeries.

“Absolutely. We have to respect everyone’s medical needs,” de Blasio said at the New York City Pride parade when asked by a reporter if Medicare for All, which he supports, would cover gender reassignment procedures.

“If someone needs a surgery to be full and to live their life fully — the idea is a health care system that actually serves everyone to the fullest, not a health care system that rations and causes people to struggle to get just a little health care,” he said.

No other Democratic candidates have said they support covering gender reassignment surgery in their health care plans. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who introduced the Medicare for All bill in the Senate in 2017, has not said how his government-operated health system will handle gender reassignment surgeries.

Medicare for All would eliminate private insurance, making health care a single-payer system operated by the federal government. A proposal like de Blasio’s would mean that a taxpayer-funded health care system would treat gender reassignment surgery as a medical need, rather than an elective surgery.

Transgender issues have become a focal point of the Democratic presidential race. Julian Castro, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said at Wednesday’s Democratic debate that abortions for transgender females would be covered under his proposed health care plan.

“I don’t believe only in reproductive freedom, I believe in reproductive justice. What that means is just because a woman or, let’s also not forget, someone in the trans community — a trans female — is poor does not mean they should not have the ability to exercise that right to choose,” said Castro, who seemingly meant to say that his policy would cover trans males.

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