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By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:00:02 EST, 10  November 2012| UPDATED:00:28 EST, 10 November 2012


In  just a few days, San Francisco’s legislature will vote on a landmark new bill  that if approved would allow city employees to undergo sex change operations on  the government’s dime.

The comprehensive new program is part of the  city’s universal health plan and is designed to help transgendered individuals  who struggle physically and emotionally with their mismatched  bodies.

If approved, San Francisco would become the  first city to offer such benefits. Minnesota once had a similar program, but the  government eliminated it in 1998.

Historic: San Francisco legislators are prepared to vote on a landmark new bill that would cover sex change operations for city employees.Historic: San Francisco legislators are prepared to vote  on a landmark new bill that would cover sex change operations for city  employees.

The bill is the product of several members of  the city’s legislature, also known as the Board of Supervisors, and the  Transgender Law Center. After fighting on behalf of the bill for five years, the  city’s Health Commission finally approved the measure on Tuesday.

All that is left is for the full Board of  Supervisors to vote on the bill, which will come Monday.

Supporters of the new bill are calling this  move a historic step for not just LGBT equality but for civil liberty as a  whole. Board Supervisor Mark Leno, founder of the Transgender Civil Rights  Implementation Task Force he was proud to be voting on this bill.

‘We have transgender people living and  working among us,’ Leno said to ABC News. ‘They deserve the same dignity and  respect as every other citizen. One way is to make sure the city provides equal  benefits for equal work’

Likewise discrimination investigator  for the  San Francisco Human Rights Commission Marcus Arana said that  this measure is  what is fair.

“It really is a civil rights issue,” Arana  said. “We have an insurance issued that will pay for a hysterectomy in Mary but  not in Marcus, and will pay for hormone therapy in Mary but not in Marcus.”

But detractors have called the bill an  unaffordable luxury, especially during such an economically uncertain  time. This year, San Francisco’s budget  has surpassed $7 billion for the first time in history.

“Taxpayers cannot afford this, as there are  unintended costs and  unintended consequences unrelated to the actual surgery,  such as their  longer-term hormone treatment, psychology needs and other longer  term  health issues,” Thomas Moyer, a  resident and author of ‘A Conservative Survival Guide to San Francisco’ told Fox  News.

Equality: Supporters of the bill are calling the new bill a big step for LGBT rights and civil libertyEquality: Supporters of the bill are calling the new  bill a big step for LGBT rights and civil liberty

To be eligible for coverage under the new  program,  individuals will have to be employed by the city for at least one  year.  There is also a $50,000 lifetime cap and a 15 per cent of 50 per cent  deductible, which is determined based on whether or not the physician is within  the city’s health network.

On average, male-to-female surgeries cost  about $37,000, while female-to-male surgeries will cost about  $77,000.

The program will also cover hormone  treatments but will not fund cosmetic procedures. Employees also must  undergo  a rigorous medical review process that can take up to six  months, and a doctor  must deem all procedures medically necessary.

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