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$50,000 in sex-change coverage added to San Francisco insurance

WASHINGTON (BP)–San Francisco has become the first city in the nation to offer insurance coverage for men who want to become women, and vice versa.

The city’s board of supervisors approved the proposal by a 9-2 vote April 30, according to a May 1 report by CNSNews.com. “We should afford our transgendered brothers and sisters equal dignity and respect and honor to be able to participate as full citizens in San Francisco,” said Supervisor Mark Leno, who proposed the legislation.

The plan offers city workers up to $50,000 toward the cost of a sex change. It is expected to cost all city workers an extra $1.70 a month in higher premiums, while the city of San Francisco would pay an estimated $680,000 extra a year for its share of insurance payments.

“This is a matter of conscience,” the board’s president, Tom Ammiano, said. “It is not a political decision, it is a moral decision.”

Supervisor Tony Hall, meanwhile, challenged the fairness of the action, noting that the benefits package offers no specialized treatment for anorexia or bulimia, for example, or for workers’ children with learning disabilities, while imposing limits on prosthetic limbs and cardiac reconstructive surgery, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

City officials say as many as 35 city employees might take advantage of the new benefit in the first year.

Also added as benefits for San Francisco’s city workers: acupuncture, hearing aids, infertility treatments and Viagra for impotence.

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