Of course, this does not mean that every senior citizen who wants the surgery will get it at taxpayers' expense. Rather, it gives Medicare recipients can seek authorization for the procedure by submitting a doctor's and mental health professional's documentation stating that the surgery is medically indicated in the applicant's case.
State-run Medicaid organizations as well as private insurers often take their cues from the Federal government in setting guidelines for coverage. So, some have suggested, today's ruling could pave the way for gender-reassignment surgery becoming a routinely-covered benefit.
Such a prospect, of course, has opponents' knickers in a twist. They believe that "anyone and everyone" will ask for the surgery and costs will rocket to the stratosphere. However, even the most liberal estimates indicate that transgender people are no more than 0.4 percent of the population. Moreover, preliminary research indicates that coverage of medical treatments and procedures related to transgender issues has no discernible effect on the number of people who avail themselves to them.