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Hawaii bill bans discrimination against transgender patients

HONOLULU, Hawaii – Insurance companies would not be allowed to discriminate against transgender patients under a bill passed by the Hawaii Legislature.

The bill passed Tuesday by the House of Representatives prohibits denying, cancelling or limiting coverage based on a person’s gender identity. The bill was already passed by the Senate, so it now goes to Gov. David Ige.

Kaleo Ramos, a transgender teacher, says people in Hawaii have been denied coverage for things like mammograms or screenings for prostate cancer because of the gender on their driver’s license.

Democratic Rep. Chris Lee says the bill is critical because other states are moving in the opposite direction with laws that allow discrimination based on gender identity.

Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott opposes the bill and says he finds the social aspects troubling.