Yesterday, the mayor of Portland, Oregon, Sam Adams, told the City Council that he will submit a proposal in one week to increase health benefits to transgender employees of the city, including sexual reassignment surgery (SRS). Adams told the press he wants the city to offer the coverage in order to retain the “best and brightest employees”:
Mayor Sam Adams will ask the City Council to increase health care benefits for transgendered [sic] employees, including sexual reassignment surgery, through one of the plans offered to Portland employees. Adams plans to submit an ordinance expanding the benefits on June 8. It could be heard next week, at the earliest. […]
“As mayor, it is important to me that we attract and retain the best and brightest employees to the city of Portland. Offering non-discriminatory health care benefits — as leading employers like Nike, Google, Microsoft and IBM do — is one way to accomplish that goal,” Adams said. “Covering basic, medically necessary care is a matter of fairness, and it’s the right thing to do.”
Local news station KATU covered the mayor’s announcement. Watch it:
The estimated cost of Adam’s proposal annually “is $32,302 — that’s a .08% increase out of the $41 million the city already spends on health care.” The city of Berkeley, California is also considering a similar proposal and a plan to offer SRS benefits in Seattle, Washington just failed. Interestingly enough, one unlikely foreign country does offer subsidized SRS benefits to citizens: Iran (but not for the same inclusive reasons).