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Florida Drops Medicaid Coverage of Trans People's Gender-Affirming Medications

The new rule preventing people from using Medicaid to pay for puberty blockers and hormone therapies will go into effect on Aug. 21.

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Florida—under the leadership of the cartoonishly transphobic Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)—will bar its residents from using Medicaid to cover the puberty blockers and hormone therapies that many have already been using for yeas, according to a new rule released by the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration on Wednesday. This rule will not just affect trans kids, whose age-appropriate care the state has been trying to curb-stomp in one way or anotherit will bar adults from continuing to use Medicaid to pay for gender-confirming medical care, too.

Under this guidance, the state’s $36.2 billion Medicaid program will not cover payment for treatments like hormone therapy or puberty blockers, nor for gender confirmation surgeries. This will add Florida to at least 10 states (including Texas and Arizona) which outlaw Medicaid dollars from being used for medications typically association with the treatment of gender dysphoria.

State agency spokesperson Brock Juarez told the Washington Post that the agency conducted “a very thorough process, and our in-depth work and findings really speak for itself.”

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Lambda Legal is considering “all options” to challenge this rule, according to the Post. “It’s gut-wrenching,” Carl Charles, senior attorney of the Southern Regional Office for Lambda Legal, told the newspaper. “People have made a decision in their lives to pursue a course of care that’s going to be life-changing, and now they’re facing the potential that they may not be able to move forward with that.”

In April, the state board published a report saying there wasn’t enough proof that gender confirmation therapies and surgeries improved trans healthcare outcomes. However, the report is directly contradicted by industry experts, including the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the American Academy of Pediatrics as well as the American Medical Association.

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On Aug. 5, the state’s medical board began the process to ban gender confirmation treatment for kids—something that has been falsely boogeyman-ed into including vaginoplasty. Doctors do not perform gender confirmation surgeries on children, but conservatives love to pop off regardless of the truth.

During that same meeting, the state medical board also voted to begin the process that would institute waiting periods for adults seeking any gender confirmation care. The 24-hour waiting periods are exactly like those instituted for abortion care. While waiting period laws haven’t been challenged regarding gender confirmation care, these kind of laws when in the context of abortion have been held up as an “undue burden” for abortion seekers prior to Dobbs.