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Medicare removes gender references

Gender discrimination will soon be eradicated from Medicare documents and service provision, according to Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek and Minister for Human Services Jan McLucas.

“If you need a medical treatment under Medicare you should be able to get it without a discussion about or disclosure of your gender – male, female, transgender or otherwise,” Plibersek said.

“That’s why the government’s removing all references to gender from the language used to describe the almost 6000 clinical services covered by Medicare.

“At the moment, there are some Medicare services described as being for a man or a woman. This has caused discrimination against gender-diverse Australians who have had to have unnecessary discussions about their gender identity in order to get access to a service, or to claim a rebate for one at a Medicare office.”

Plibersek cited the example of someone who has a uterus but who identifies as male, or intersex Australians who do not wish to identify as any gender. “Under current arrangements, some Medicare-covered medical procedures involving the uterus are described as ‘female’ or for ‘women’,” she said.

In the future, gender references will be avoided in Medicare through more detailed description of certain medical procedures or by using anatomical language.

The changes will bring Medicare into line with the government’s new Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender, and are the result of consultations with the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Health Alliance and Organisation Intersex International Australia.

“The Department of Human Services and the Department of Health and Ageing have been working together to ensure all our systems and procedures are updated to reflect the changes,” McLucas said.

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