Should city of Portland employees have sex change health coverage?
PORTLAND -- The Portland City Council Wednesday unanimously approved extending health benefits to city works to include sex change surgery.
“To the trans community of Portland, who each and every day makes this city a better place, it is my honor and privilege to serve on a City Council that can bring an ounce of fairness in return,” Mayor Sam Adams said in a prepared statement.
Commissioner Amanda Fritz said “I appreciate living in a city and serving on a City Council where we look at what is the right thing to do, even if it's not politically popular.”
City finance officials estimate the annual cost of the benefit to be about $32,000 more of the $41 million that is spent annually on health care.
"This is a small price to pay to help people live better lives," said Commissioner Dan Saltzman.
The American Medical Association identified years ago that all transgender health care is medically necessary. The AMA also believes no public or private health insurance should deny coverage.
Multnomah County also includes the coverage. In 2001, San Francisco was the first city in the nation to give the benefits. The city of Seattle is also looking at joining in. Major businesses like Nike, Google, and Microsoft already offer it.
“This City does not discriminate," said Commissioner NIck Fish, "It does not make judgments about people’s status. I believe today is a leadership moment, with the mayor leading us effectively on this issue and I am proud, as a member of this community, to vote aye.”
Commissioner Randy Leonard added “at the end of the day, when people provide me with facts and figures, it doesn’t override what my heart tells me…aye.”