Maloney bill would ban use of Medicaid for “conversion therapy”

A bill introduced Thursday by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney would prohibit using Medicaid to pay for gay “conversion therapy,” counseling that critics rip as a cruel and ineffectual attempt to change a patient’s sexual orientation.

“Conversion practices are discredited, harmful, and not therapy,” Maloney said in a press release. “Fundamentally, conversion tactics are based on the idea that a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation are diseases to be cured — they have no legitimate medical application and should not be used anywhere. Until we can just ban conversion ‘therapy’ all together, we must ensure taxpayer dollars aren’t funding a fraudulent practice that has been roundly discredited by the medical community.”

Sixty-three House Democrats co-sponsored the bill. Maloney, D-Cold Spring, is co-chairman of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law in January that prohibits professional therapists in New York from trying to change the sexual orientation of patients younger than 18. The conversion-therapy ban applies only to licensed mental-health professionals, not clergy or other non-licensed figures. Violators would face professional misconduct sanctions ranging from a reprimand to license revocation and fines.

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