SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— San Francisco’s Health Commission has voted to cover sex reassignment surgery for transgender people through the city’s universal health program.

The Healthy San Francisco program subsidizes medical care for uninsured city residents. Eligibility in open to all city residents below a set income level. Citizenship, immigration, employment and health status are not conditions of coverage. The program is funded through a combination of federal dollars, fees on city businesses and participant co-payments.

Coverage of the sex reassignment surgery begins right away for residents who are enrolled in the Healthy SF Program.

The action follows Board of Supervisors approval over a resolution by Supervisor Scott Wiener to remove sex-reassignment surgery from the list of excluded procedures in Healthy SF. Wiener said it’s both a health issue and human rights issue.

“There is significant discrimination against transgendered people who are less likely to be employed, less likely to have health insurance, but have significant health-care needs,” said Wiener.

Theresa Sparks, who heads the city’s Human Rights Commission, said she sees it as a sign of growing understanding of her community.

“There’s been a consensus the last three to five years that transition related surgeries are in fact a medical necessity for people who have been properly diagnosed with gender dysphoria,” she said.

San Francisco already provides the benefit to city workers and their dependents.

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