New year, new policy: the University of Arizona (UArizona) began paying for gender reassignment surgeries for both employees and their children on Jan. 1.
UArizona will cover up to $10,000 for these procedures through a newly established Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA): an employer-funded, tax-free health benefit that reimburses employees. Both employees and their dependents are eligible for the HRA.
The HRA would also cover fertility treatments, but only up to $2,500.
UArizona announced the reimbursement plan in the week after Thanksgiving. The HRA administrator is Navia Benefit Solutions, and offered through enrollment in the Arizona Department of Administration’s High-Deductible Health Plan or Triple Choice Plan.
The university has supported transgenderism openly over the past few decades. In 2013, UArizona lifted up a transgender former professor, Susan Stryker, who established their Transgender Studies Initiative.
Stryker retired, but is a visiting professor for Yale University, distinguished chair for Mills College, and co-editor for a Duke University Press book series on gender. Buzzfeed named Stryker as one of 24 individuals who radically reformed public perception of transgenderism.
UArizona also offers a “Gender Affirming Treatment” through their student health insurance plan, a benefit which is also available at Arizona State University (ASU) and Northern Arizona University (NAU). UArizona offers insurance through UnitedHealthcare.
The university also issues room assignments based on students’ preferred room gender through “open housing rooms” within “Gender Inclusive Housing” groups on certain floors or in certain dorms. Preferred names and pronouns are permitted to be changed for class rosters, emails, and other non-legal uses.
The university allows individuals to use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity, as well as offering restrooms that allow both genders.
In a surprise reversal, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is suspending its recently announced requirement that employers make a record of an employee’s adverse reaction to an employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccination.
In May, the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA advised employers it would consider an employee’s adverse reaction as a “reportable incident” if the vaccination was required to obtain or keep employment, or to avoid repercussions such as a negative performance rating.
An adverse reaction would have to involve time away from work, medical treatment beyond basic first aid, restricted work duties, or even a job transfer in order to be recorded by the employer.
But OSHA has already changed its policy, according to new information on its website. The priority now is for federal agencies to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations.
“OSHA does not wish to have any appearance of discouraging workers from receiving COVID-19 vaccination, and also does not wish to disincentivize employers’ vaccination efforts,” the website states. “As a result, OSHA will not enforce its recording requirements to require any employers to record worker side effects from COVID-19 vaccination through May 2022.”
The backtracking by OSHA officials is seen as a response to “unprecedented” political pressure from the White House, according to Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver.
“OSHA’s suspension of the recording requirement so as not to discourage experimental COVID shots reveals that the Biden administration could care less about the collateral damage being caused by the COVID shots,” Staver commented last week. “The people can see this biased agenda. They are not stupid.”
Many civil liberties groups point to the fact the current experimental COVID-19 vaccines are only approved under an Emergency Use Authorization and therefore its use is not to be mandated.
Whether an employee in Arizona can seek recourse through the courts or a workers’ compensation claim after falling ill from an employer-required vaccination remains unclear.