New rules released Thursday by
Florida's Medicaid regulator prohibit the medical program from
covering gender-affirming health care.
The Florida Agency for Health Care
Administration (AHCA) cut services for treatments such as puberty
blockers, hormone therapies and surgical procedures for the treatment
of gender dysphoria.
Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican,
has been vocal in his opposition to such treatments.
The rules cover adults and children.
Doctors recommend social transitioning and hormone replacement
therapy, not surgery, for children seeking gender-affirming care.
In April, AHCA claimed in a report that
such treatments do not improve health outcomes. Other Florida health
agencies have questioned the safety of gender-affirming care.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBTQ rights advocate, said in a statement that the
rule change is “contrary to all medical best practices” and
criticized the move as politically motivated.
“This new rule is the latest example
of the DeSantis Administration shamefully targeting transgender
Floridians,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “The
Governor’s administration thinks it knows better than the residents
and medical providers of Florida. The purported rationale behind
these latest moves to deny medical care to transgender people has
been thoroughly debunked time and time again since this effort first
surfaced publicly in April.”
“Rather than following the science,
the data or the experts, the Florida Agency for Health Care
Administration instead chose to misinterpret studies, ignore
evidence, and lend credence to prejudice – yet again putting the
state between patients and doctors for no reason other than political
grandstanding. This rule will harm thousands of Floridians when it
goes into effect, and it should be reevaluated immediately,”
HRC said that there are an estimated
9,000 transgender Floridians.