Nova Scotia, a bastion of hate

If this story is correct, Nova Scotians should be deeply, deeply embarrassed by their government:

A transgender man in Nova Scotia has filed a human rights complaint after he was handed a $3,400 bill for a hysterectomy that he claims was medically necessary.

“The gynecologist said I had two options to deal with the symptoms I was having. The first would be to take birth control to raise my estrogen levels but she ruled that out as an option because I take testosterone. I’m a man. And the second option was the abdominal hysterectomy, which was her suggestion.”

In October 2010, MacDonald went to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax and had the operation.

He said after he woke up, his doctor gave him a bill for $3,400. He said he was stunned.

A week later, MacDonald said he discovered that MSI considered his operation sexual reassignment surgery.

“Once I got back home, I ended up having to take the staples out myself because no one could guarantee that the followup care would be covered as well,” he said.

Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.


  1. I’d like to hear more about whether the testosterone supplements had anything to do with the condition that required a hysterectomy.

    • Would that make a difference? Medication often has side effects (such lists are often the best part of drug ads), and we still cover treatment for those side effects. Further, we cover treatment for medical issues related to smoking, drinking, fast food, cliff diving, dangerous driving and cosmetic surgery. I can’t think of a reason to cut off this guy’s health coverage, but not that of others who choose to do things that cause medical problems.

      • “Would that make a difference?”

        If the government doesn’t pay this guy’s $3400 surgery bill then they’re horrible bigoted bastards.

        If the government gives someone $200,000 to cover the underwater part of their mortgage, then they’re bailing out fools who acted unwisely and ought to bear the full cost of the risks they assumed because otherwise there’s a moral-hazard situation.

        The point being to ask at what point do we say that something is Your Fault, and why do we draw the line there?

        • The mortgage comparison isn’t appropriate here. The Canada Health Act really ties a government’s hands as to what they’re allowed to do (and, correspondingly, makes getting alternative coverage more difficult). The government isn’t allowed to arbitrarily change the terms of health coverage, and (if this story is correct) that is exactly what they’ve done here.

          If governments are going to start scaling back on medical coverage, that’s a decision that needs to come from either the legislature or the Ministry of Health, not some random bureaucrat. The patient in the story went through his doctor, arranged the surgery well in advance and never once was told that he would need additional health insurance.

          If there’s a desire in Nova Scotia to change health coverage so that any self-inflicted medical issues (if, indeed, the drugs played a role), they need to follow the established process. It’s quite unfair to change the rules of the game after you’ve sliced someone open.

  2. Yeah…not sure I am willing to, based on only this information, disregard “misclassification of procedure in billing department” in favour of “NS government hates transgendered people”

    • I find it odd that a misclassification wouldn’t have been corrected in the past year, prior to a human rights suit.

      But, again, this is assuming that what is presented in the story is accurate.

  3. Well Nova Scotia and government is not usually two words that get you good results. But it certainly sounds like an especially sorry state of affairs.

    • “Nova Scotia and government is not usually two words that get you good results.”

      To start with it’s actually three words, four if you count the conjunction. 😉

      • Clearly you’ve not hear Nova Scotians talk. Hell most just call it “‘Scotia”. So it’d be “Scotia gummint” usually followed by an expletative.

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