Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a
Republican, on Thursday moved to ban transition-related care for
According to NBC 6 in Miami, the
DeSantis administration took action after Florida's agency
responsible for administrating Medicaid (Agency for Health Care
Administration) issued a 46-page
report in which it justified banning Medicaid coverage for
puberty blockers, hormone therapies, or gender-reassigment surgery
for transgender people of any age.
In a letter written to the state board
that regulates doctors, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, who
oversees the Health Department, asked for a ban on transition-related
health care for transgender minors.
Ladapo used the report's findings to
justify his request.
“The Agency ultimately concluded that
'Available medical literature provides insufficient evidence that sex
reassignment through medical interventions is a safe and effective
treatment for gender dysphoria,'” Ladapo
wrote. “I encourage the Board to review the Agency's findings
and the Department's guidance to establish a standard of care for
these complex and irreversible procedures.”
NBC 6 noted that the “two-pronged
effort ensures DeSantis can act quickly and without need for
Gary Howell, a psychologist in Tampa
who sees transgender patients, told NBC 6 that such a policy would
endanger the lives of transgender children who are at increased risk
of suicide already.
According to the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC), the nation's largest LGBTQ rights advocate, banning
transition-related care for minors insured through Medicaid would
impact approximately 9,000 Floridians.
HRC State Legislative Director and
Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley called the DeSantis administration's
moves politically motivated.
“Gender-affirming care is lifesaving
– that, unlike the material in this report, is a fact – and this
medical care is neither experimental, nor new,” Oakley said. “It
is supported by the overwhelming majority of medical associations,
representing more than 1.3 million doctors in the United States. This
controversy is entirely contrived for partisan political purposes,
but will cause very real harm to the thousands of folks impacted.”
“This, in addition to the ‘Don’t
Say Gay or Trans’ law and the ‘Stop WOKE Act,’ prove that Ron
DeSantis and his administration care only about using LGBTQ+ people
in an attempt to rile up their base and tell people in Florida how to
live their lives. This is wrong, this is destructive, and it is
discrimination, plain and simple. The Human Rights Campaign will do
everything in its power to oppose all of these actions,” Oakley