DeSantis Administration Moves Toward Denying Health Care to Transgender Floridians; Human Rights Campaign Calls on State Health Officials to Reverse Course on Discriminatory Proposed Rule

by Delphine Luneau

Dropped on a Friday Ahead of a Holiday Weekend, Proposal With No Scientific Backing Whatsoever Would Deny Care to Floridians of All Ages Who Rely on Medicaid

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, bowing to the wishes of the openly discriminatory DeSantis Administration, released proposed rule changes today that would — contrary to all medical best practices — deny gender affirming care to Floridians of all ages who rely on Medicaid. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — denounced the transparently political move that seeks to take decisions about best care practices out of the hands of medical professionals and patients.

“With this rule change proposal, the DeSantis Administration is signaling once again that it thinks it knows better than the residents and medical providers of Florida,” said Sarah Warbelow, Human Rights Campaign Legal Director. “The purported rationale behind these latest moves to deny medical care to transgender people has been debunked repeatedly since this effort first surfaced publicly in April. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration is willfully misinterpreting studies, ignoring evidence, and lending credence to prejudice. In the process, they are putting the state between patients and doctors for no reason other than political grandstanding. This rule will harm thousands of Floridians if it goes into effect, and it should be rejected summarily.”

Today’s actions to deny care to approximately 9,000 transgender Floridians are merely the latest step in the ongoing campaign by the DeSantis Administration to control the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the state and create an atmosphere of hostility toward individuals purely on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

After the preliminary report was published in April, HRC responded with a corrected version that debunked the lies and misinterpretations that abounded in the two-page document. HRC’s response noted that the preliminary report drew inaccurate conclusions from cited research, used obsolete terminology, took data out of context and cherry-picked misleading data. To learn more about gender affirming care, see HRC’s fact sheet and video.

The moves by the AHCA follow the signings by Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this spring of the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill and the “Stop WOKE Act.”

The “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill seeks to silence teachers from talking about LGBTQ+ issues or people, further stigmatizing and isolating LGBTQ+ kids and also undermining existing protections for LGBTQ+ students. The legislation — which has triggered major backlash from educators and students across Florida and the country — prevents teachers from providing a safe, inclusive classroom for all students.

The “Stop WOKE Act” limits protected speech in workplaces and classrooms by censoring honest dialogue about systemic racism, gender, and race discrimination. The legislation also changes Florida’s employment discrimination statutes to give employees the ability to file discrimination claims against an employer engaging in trainings or discussions about Black history, LGBTQ+ issues, and other concepts of injustice and discrimination.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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