Federal rules require the state health plan to cover procedures under federal law and regulation, and that now includes sex change transition surgery and hormone therapy, if they are said to be medically necessary. If the state plan doesn’t comply with federal rules, it puts many millions of federal dollars at risk. This is not, in other words, something that’s up to the wishes of Treasurer-elect Dale Folwell, the first Republican to win the job in years.
Folwell, however, says he’s going to investigate “the true legal and financial implications of this provision and report those findings to the citizens of N.C. who will be paying for it.” The state already estimates, via a consulting firm, that the rule could cost between $350,000 and $850,000 annually.
Folwell — who as a legislator showed good common sense, although he did sometimes get caught up in too many time-consuming details — needs to let this go and get on with the business of learning how to manage the state’s multibillion-dollar portfolio and the health plan and the retirement plan and doing the other duties of the treasurer. Turning a clear, federal requirement into some kind of ideological cause early on in his term would be a foolish waste of time — particularly given that Folwell, though a bright fellow, has a pretty steep learning curve in a very complex office.