LGBT civil rights groups are calling on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate a report that an uninsured transgender woman in Colorado was denied a federally subsidized mammography after a lump was found in her breast.
The woman was told she was denied the exam because of federal guidance that she is "not genetically female,” according to the Human Rights Campaign and the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Both groups called on the CDC to investigate and change any discriminatory guidelines.
“Breast cancer screenings save lives and should be available to all women, period,” said Shane Snowdon, director of the HRC's health and aging program. "This policy isn’t simply discriminatory, it’s dangerous and we hope our leaders at the CDC will address it immediately."
"Excluding transgender women from a breast cancer screening program has no legitimate basis and flies in the face of accepted medical standards,” said Harper Jean Tobin, NCTE director of policy. "That is irrational discrimination, plain and simple. We hope and expect that the CDC will act swiftly to make clear that these programs must serve all women."
After being turned down for mammography by a federally funded program that provides free cancer screenings to low-income women, which cited CDC guidance in doing so, Jennifer Blair scraped together enough money to pay for a mammogram.
She learned she does not have breast cancer, but her diagnosis came after a long period of fear and uncertainty, according to HRC.
Blair, because of the denied care, filed a complaint under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.
In the build up to the opening of the health care marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, officials at the White House and the Health and Human Services Department repeatedly emphasized that Obamacare specifically bars discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
At a White House forum on the exchange and the benefits of the Affordable Care Act earlier this fall, officials stressed that the ACA prohibits insurers from denying coverage or charging a higher premium based on a pre-existing condition, including HIV or AIDS. The law also prohibits insurers from charging someone more because of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.
At the forum, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said, "Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. Being LGBT is no longer a pre-existing condition."