On November 8 the Associated Press reported “San Francisco has approved a measure that utilizes taxpayer funds to pay for the sex-change operations of the uninsured, becoming the first city in the nation to do so.” The article reported that the city’s Department of Public Health was urged to adopt the new policy by the San Francisco’s board of supervisors and the SF-based Transgender Law Center. The plan will be part of the Healthy San Francisco program which provides medical care for the uninsured. Healthy San Francisco receives funding from employers, the city, and the federal government.
The city’s director of public health is open lesbian Barbara Garcia. Garcia described the new policy as “a symbolic process for now because the city currently does not have the expertise, capacity or protocols in place to provide the surgeries through its clinics and public hospital. The community felt the exclusion on Healthy San Francisco was discriminatory and we wanted to change that as the first step,” she said.