Administrators at public university hike student healthcare fee to fund sex change surgery

Trustees at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) voted 6-2 this week to add sexual reassignment surgery to their health insurance policy.

Trustees at the University of Illinois-Chicago voted 6-2 to add gender reassignment surgery to the student healthcare plan.

The the price of the student health care plan is expected to rise to 15 percent as a result of incurred fees within the next year, which is mandatory for students who do not already have outside insurance, the Chicago Tribune reported. The increase will amount to $120, with $9 of that sum allocated for the gender reassignment surgery.

Assistant Director of the UIC Gender and Sexuality Center Liz Thomson, told Campus Reform on Thursday she is “excited” by the trustees’ decision to help fund the costly and sometimes controversial procedure.

“The idea that these kind of surgeries are cosmetic or unnecessary is really false,” she said. “From so many of the students we talk to and from research studies that talk about their challenges it’s a necessary vital significant procedure.”

Thomson went on to characterize the change as part of a safety issue.

“It also goes down to safety,” she added. “A lot of students might be born, assigned a born sex as female and identify as male and even if they’re able to get their name changed to a more male name or whatever name they want, if their outside expression does not fit who they are then that really also can put them at a physical safety risk.”

Dr. Timothy Koritz, an anesthesiologist on the UI board of trustees who voted against the policy, however, said he believes the change could actually lead to a dangerous situation for some young students.  

“The...  reason I objected is if you take this to it’s logical conclusion you have the potential for an eighteen year old deciding on permanent sterility,” he told Campus Reform. “For instance if you go the female to male route, they have a hysterectomy so they won’t have periods.

“I as a physician would not feel comfortable being involved in an eighteen year old’s decision to make such a permanent change,” he added.

University relations officer Thomas Hardy told Campus Reform Thursday the trustees’ decision represented “a statement by the university.”

Hardy was not sure about concerns from some trustees that taxpayer dollars could be used to fund the gender reassignment

EDITOR'S NOTE: It was originally reported the 15% ($120) fee increase was due to adding sexual reassignment surgery. The fee increase is a result of incurred costs, $9 of which is attributable to the surgery. To clarify, the trustees originally reported are the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The University of Illinois Chicago is one of the three UI campuses in this system. 

Follow the author of this article on twitter: @TimPDion

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