NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Metro board has rejected a proposal to provide funding to cover gender-affirming surgeries for city employees through expanded insurance coverage.

Metro’s Employee Benefit Board said the motion considered whether to cover medically necessary gender-reassignment procedures for employees over the age of 18. Supporters said the proposal would help recruit employees.

“In order for our city to continue to be welcoming for all people, that means every single person deserves equal access to care so that they can thrive at work, at home, and when they’re outside of these spaces,” said Phil Cobucci with Inclusion Tennessee. 

Meanwhile, those against the motion had many concerns including how the city would pay for the coverage.

“In most cities we were given comps before, the out of pocket was $15-20,000; here, it’s $1,000,” said Jeremy Moseley with the Employee Benefit Board. “Money still has to be paid to medical providers. Who’s going to pay for that?”

Mayor Cooper released a statement, which reads:

“We’re incredibly proud of the Metro employees who stood up and advocated for their own health care today. Working closely with the LGBTQ caucus, our Administration pushed hard to enact this live-saving change to our health care coverage. I appreciate our HR Director, Finance Director, and the board members that I appointed for supporting this change. Unfortunately, the remainder of the board voted against these voices. As a result, our trans employees will have to wait at least another year for their rights to be affirmed by their peers on the Benefits Board.”

Last year, Metro Council passed a resolution that asked the Metro Employee Benefit Board to look at whether employees can be reimbursed for the costs to travel for an abortion.

The resolution passed with only one council member abstention and could potentially affect 15,000 city employees.

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Had today’s motion passed, gender-reassignment procedures that were deemed medically necessary would have been covered starting July 1.

The 2023 budget, which was passed in July 2022 and will fund the Metro government during the this fiscal year, will begin July 1.