I wrote a my state senator (among others) the following:
I writing to ask that you sponsor a bill that would ban discrimination in healthcare against transgender Minnesotans. This position is supported by both the American Medical Association (http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/471/114.doc) and The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) (http://www.wpath.org/documents/Med%20Nec%20on%202008%20Letterhead.pdf). I am transgender and have been through a great deal of hardship due to discriminatory practices in both private and public insurance plans. I have attempted suicide four times, and been hospitalized for suicidal ideation forty times. The hundreds of thousands of dollars those hospitalizations have cost could have paid for surgery to end my distress many times over. Money that is going toward mental healthcare for the transgender community could be much better spent. Please help by giving transgender Minnesotans hope by sponsoring a bill to end transgender discrimination in healthcare.
He wrote me back today:
Thanks for your e-mail.
Any Legislator can introduce any bill on any topic. However, we tend to let those legislators who actually serve on the subject’s committees to carry the bills relating to that committee. I do not serve on the Senate’s Health, Housing and Family Security Committee which would have jurisdiction on this topic. Again, that does mean that I cannot introduce a bill, but it would be smarter if a member of that committee does so. The committee members would have a better sense of the likelihood of getting a bill through a committee.
I would be concerned that even if such a bill passed the Legislature, the Governor may veto it. Two years ago, the Legislature approved healthcare benefits for same sex couples and that provision was added to the State Government Budget bill, which I carried. The Governor vetoed the whole bill, basically because that provision was included.
State Senator Don Betzold
I guess my next move is to write every member of the Health, Housing and Family Security Committee, and the governor. I know a lot of people who are in my life have been touched by this too, watching me go through things, so please write too.