Legal Victory In Spain: Health Service Must Cover Gender Reassignment Surgery

Unprecedented Legal Victory In Spain: Health Service Must Cover Gender Reassignment

For the first time ever, Spain’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a woman seeking gender reassignment surgery, and against the regional government that had denied Charlotte Goiar treatment for the last six years.

The Galician public health system will have to pay for gender reassignment surgery, which costs anywhere between 15,000 and 25,000 euros outside Galicia. They will also have to plan pre- and post-surgery care.

GRS Coverage In Spain

Until now, no one in Galicia had managed to secure funding for gender reassignment surgery from the public health service. When Spain was under the Socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Galician administration included GRS on its list of covered services, but never certified which surgery centers were accredited to carry out the surgeries. This lack of official surgery centers has been the basis for the Galician government’s refusal to assist transgender people seeking treatment.

A government decree dating from 1995 expressly prohibited the public health services from paying for gender reassignment surgery, but that ban was lifted in 2007. By then, Andalusia had already been performing these operations for eight years, and was later joined by Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque Country. Other regional governments, such as Aragon and Extremadura, pay to have patients treated elsewhere, or else cover intermediate procedures such as breast augmentation.

Related: Gender reassignment surgeons in Spain

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