Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration moved forward Friday with a proposal that would deny Medicaid coverage for treatments such as puberty-blocking medication and hormone therapy for transgender people.
The state Agency for Health Care Administration, which runs most of the Medicaid program, published a proposed rule and set a July 8 hearing on the issue. National and state legal and LGBTQ-advocacy groups have vowed to fight the proposal.
The issue centers on treatment for gender dysphoria, which the federal government defines as clinically “significant distress that a person may feel when sex or gender assigned at birth is not the same as their identity.”
Under the proposed rule, the Medicaid program would not cover puberty-blocking medication, hormones and hormone “antagonists,” sex-reassignment surgeries and any “other procedures that alter primary or secondary sexual characteristics.”
The proposal, published Friday in the Florida Administrative Register, also would establish that such treatments don’t meet a definition of “medical necessity.” That is important because, by law, services provided in the Medicaid program must be deemed medically necessary.
The Agency for Health Care Administration on June 2 said it would start the rule-making process and issued a report to back denying coverage of the treatments, which it said were “not consistent with generally accepted professional medical standards and are experimental and investigational.”
“Following a review of available literature, clinical guidelines and coverage by other insurers and nations, Florida Medicaid has determined that the research supporting sex reassignment treatment is insufficient to demonstrate efficacy and safety,” said the report, which was signed by Medicaid director Tom Wallace.
But opponents blasted the agency, saying that trying to bar the treatments was part of a broader push by Republicans to target transgender people. The release of the report was followed by state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo asking the Florida Board of Medicine to review the agency’s findings and “establish a standard of care for these complex and irreversible procedures.” The Board of Medicine regulates the state’s medical doctors.
“Governor DeSantis’ agencies have misrepresented findings and distorted data to advance a political agenda, rather than relying on good science,” Jon Harris Maurer, public policy director for the LGBTQ-advocacy group Equality Florida said in a June 2 statement. “This is yet another state agency being used to launch an overt attack on transgender Floridians. The transgender community, like all people, shouldn’t have their access to basic, medically necessary, and often life-saving care stripped away by extremist politicians hoping to stoke right-wing fervor. Florida should put public health over politics.”
Lambda Legal, the National Health Law Program, the Florida Health Justice Project and Southern Legal Counsel also vowed to fight the proposal.
“Should AHCA (the Agency for Health Care Administration) follow through on its clear intent to engage in a sham rulemaking charade, rather than conduct a robust and substantive process that incorporates valid science and is not predetermined, we stand ready to defend the rights of transgender people in Florida, including the right to nondiscriminatory health care coverage,” the organizations said in a statement.
The AHCA report said Florida’s massive Medicaid program has not had an “explicit policy” about covering such treatments. Other states have a mixture of policies, with some banning coverage and others allowing it.
The proposed rule could ultimately lead to challenges before a state administrative law judge. The July 8 hearing will be held at a Florida Department of Transportation auditorium in Tallahassee, according to the information published Friday.
–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida
Don’t let DeSantis tell you he is a Christian since he is instilling all of his personal discrimination beliefs. He should not be a public servant when he picks and choices who he likes and dislikes.
Remember if your not white with money he will like you a lot if your gay, brown, black or a foreigner he will not help you one bit.
He thinks by governor like Trump he is a sure win for office, he hasn’t heard yet Donald lost the election by a landslide with no proof of anyone cheating.
Miss Shaquana says
I cant believe Medicaid would pay for any of that to begin with. Was talking to a friend in the military and it turns out they are paying for transvestite changing procedures there too. She said the majority of the soldiers just shake their heads in disbelief of some of the things going on in our military with transvestites. The public really needs to become more aware of some of these going on. Whats next, elective breast implants and hair transplants covered by Medicaid? What a complete waste of tax payer funding meant for people that really need it.
I agree…..too much crap that has nothing to do with one’s health is labeled “healthcare”. That’s why the bona-fide, really necessary procedures to sustain life and good health are shortchanged and so expensive. Why should trans procedures be covered and not basic needs (like dental and assisted living – 2 things lacking for the elderly population) under Medicare?
Michael Cocchiola says
Another shotgun blast against the LBGTQ+ community by our Effin dictator of the “Free State of Florida”.
Apparently “free” doesn’t apply to LBGTQ+, or women, or Muslims, or Asians, or people of color. This is a prequel to future America if Republicans take over.
Kyle Reese says
The reason gender ideology is completely different than other protected groups is that, for most, identifying as opposite gender is a choice. 85% of kids grow out of gender dysphoria with unmedicalized puberty. most are gay or autistic. no one grows out of the other groups you mentioned. gay kids often have dysphoria. but now homophobic school employees tell gay kids their trans and push them to sterilizing meds. this is eugenics and a medical scandel. im a democrat but am glad desantis is calling out this BS. evidence actitivists say supports this doesnt, per UK france and sweden. they say its BS. stop sterililzing kids.
Deborah Coffey says
Completely non-factual and the cause of numerous suicides.
Deborah Coffey says
I think the Federal government should cut off all monies to Florida.
From USA Today:
• Net federal funding: $2,187 per resident
• Total revenue from fed. gov.: $237.7 billion (3rd most)
• SNAP benefit recipiency: 13.6 percent (10th highest)
• Median household income: $52,594 (12th lowest)
Timothy Patrick Welch says
People from Florida should not pay Federal tax in the first place.
Federal money given to Florida, is money from Federal taxes that is just controlled by the Federal government and used to pedal influence and show favoritism, under the guise of need.
Is it medically necessary should be the rule ? Elective surgeries & drug treatments, and that’s something anyone should have to pay for out of pocket & on their own. Why cut into healthy flesh ? If the drugs they develop have adverse health effects, those opting to elect them should forfeit right to sue. These type of drugs aren’t a duped issue of addiction where lawsuits are reasonable.
Timothy Patrick Welch says
Should any public money be used to support your sexual choice?
Not on my dime…