The Department of Veterans Affairs may cover transition-related surgeries for transgender veterans in the near future under a proposed rule change.
The rule change, first reported by Time late Thursday, would lift a long-standing ban and follow a similar change made to Medicare in 2014.
“Increased understanding of both gender dysphoria and surgical techniques in this area have improved significantly, and surgical procedures are now widely accepted in the medical community as medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria,” the proposal reads. “In light of these medical advances and recent research, VA would revise its regulation to remove the prohibition on medical services that are considered gender alterations.”
The news of the proposal comes after two transgender veterans petitioned the VA for the change last month.
It’s unclear when the change was officially proposed, but VA officials told Time it has been in the works since 2014.
The VA already covers transition-related care for transgender vets, including hormone replacement therapy and pre- and post-surgical care.
But it’s been barred from covering any actual surgery since the 1990s.
In the proposal, the VA says medical evidence on the safety and necessity of such surgeries was unclear before.