Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Health

Florida to ban Medicaid coverage for transgender health care

LGBTQ groups denounce plan to limit treatment of gender dysphoria.
Kaleb Hobson-Garcia, a transgender man, drove from Tallahassee to speak in front of the Marriott Fort Lauderdale Airport as the Florida Board of Medicine met Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, to discuss proposed rules by the DeSantis administration to ban doctors from performing gender-confirming surgeries or providing puberty blockers to kids diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
Kaleb Hobson-Garcia, a transgender man, drove from Tallahassee to speak in front of the Marriott Fort Lauderdale Airport as the Florida Board of Medicine met Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, to discuss proposed rules by the DeSantis administration to ban doctors from performing gender-confirming surgeries or providing puberty blockers to kids diagnosed with gender dysphoria. [ JOSE A. IGLESIAS | El Nuevo Herald ]
Published Aug. 15|Updated Aug. 15

MIAMI — LGBTQ and health groups have denounced a new rule by Florida health officials set to take effect later this month to restrict Medicaid insurance coverage for gender dysphoria treatments for transgender people.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration this month filed the new rule, which is set to take effect Sunday, according to online records. The move comes as the state’s medical board starts the process of setting standards to treat transgender minors.

The state agency previously released a report stating that puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and sex reassignment surgery have not been proven safe or effective in treating gender dysphoria. Tom Wallace, the state’s deputy director of Medicaid, signed off on the report in June.

Related: What’s next in Florida’s bid to restrict transition care for transgender kids

“It is imperative for states like Florida to step up and ensure our focus remains on the actual evidence, rather than the eminence of a medical society or association,” said Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller.

Lambda Legal, Southern Legal Counsel, Florida Health Justice Project and National Health Law Program issued a statement Aug. 11 saying the AHCA is ignoring thousands of public comments and expert testimony by finalizing a discriminatory and medically unsound rule.

“AHCA’s actions, at the behest of Governor (Ron) DeSantis and his political appointees, are morally and legally wrong, as well as medically and scientifically unsound,” a joint statement from the groups said. “This rule represents a dangerous escalation in Governor DeSantis’s political zeal to persecute LGBTQ+ people in Florida, and particularly transgender youth.”

Transgender medical treatment for children and teens is increasingly under attack in many states where it has been labeled a form of child abuse and where Medicaid coverage is barred. Critics point to the irreversible nature of many elements of gender transition treatment.

Related: Florida report on transgender care flawed, politically motivated, Yale experts say

Many doctors and mental health specialists argue that medical treatment for transgender children is safe and beneficial and can improve their well-being, although rigorous long-term research on benefits and risks is lacking.

Federal guidelines say gender-affirming care is crucial to the health and well-being of transgender and nonbinary children.

Last year, the American Medical Association issued a letter urging governors to block any legislation prohibiting the treatment, calling such action “a dangerous intrusion into the practice of medicine.”

Related: Florida advises no social, hormonal treatment of transgender children

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter

We’ll deliver the latest news and information you need to know every weekday morning.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge