DCNF EXCLUSIVE: Blue State Official Offered Lawyer Help Getting His 13-Year-Old Client Sex Change Surgery, Emails Show

By Published on August 30, 2023

A senior policy adviser in Washington state offered to help an attorney get his 13-year-old client get a sex-change surgery, according to emails obtained by a Daily Caller News Foundation through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Attorney John Cummings sent an email in February to the Washington State LGBTQ Commission, asking for help after insurer Kaiser Permanente refused to cover the sex change surgery until his client was 14 years old, which he claimed violated state law, according to the emails. Cummings’ message was sent to several state officials before Molly Voris, senior policy adviser for Public Health and Health Care, forwarded the request to Jane Beyer, special policy advisor with the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner, who replied on April 20 that her office was “happy to speak with [Cummings]” and that if the parents were still “fully insured, they can file a complaint for us to investigate further.”

Cummings’ original email accused the insurance company of depriving his client, an unnamed 13-year-old child, of an education since the surgery would have to be delayed a year, putting the recovery time during the 2023-2024 school year. He also argued that Kaiser was being “condescending” toward his client and stated that the company planned to end all coverage for sex-change procedures for patients under 18 years of age.

“Not only will Kaiser unlawfully delay his gender-affirming care in violation of Washington Law, but they will also deprive him of his constitutionally-protected right to an education,” Cummings wrote. “Kaiser has begun condescending to my client: claiming that meeting with him to discuss his care is a ‘favor’ and he should be ‘grateful.’ Kaiser claims they plan to end gender-affirming care for all people under the age of 18. My client is frustrated and terrified.”

Kaiser did not respond to requests for comment about its age requirements for transgender surgeries.

Beyer initially wrote back to Voris on April 4 asking if “Kaiser issued a denial of the surgery,” the emails show. She noted that if the company had given them such a notice “the parents should submit an appeal just to keep the request alive.”

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Several weeks later, Beyer replied again, citing a state law that “prohibited discrimination” for “non-grandfathered health plans,” as well as several rules that addressed sex-change procedures, according to the emails. One rule states that a health care provider could not deny “gender-affirming treatment” if it is “prescribed to an individual because of, related to, or consistent with a person’s gender expression or identity.”

Beyer also noted that Kaiser’s “Gender Health Program” discusses adolescent medicine, which says that it works “with patients to provide care focused on the best interest of the child or adolescent and respect for the family,” according to the website. She added that the laws “do not otherwise indicate that age may be used as a basis for denying such coverage,” and she told Voris that she would follow up with Cummings if he wanted.

Cummings declined to comment on whether he spoke further with Beyer or if his client obtained the surgery, citing attorney-client privilege. A spokesperson for Voris also declined to comment.

Kaiser is currently being sued by Chloe Cole, who was given sex-change treatments including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and a double mastectomy from the ages of 13 to 17. Cole has since de-transitioned and has become an avid spokesperson against minors being allowed access to transgender medical procedures.

Beyer did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

 

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