Discriminatory DeSantis Administration Regulation Eliminating Medicaid Coverage for 9,000+ Transgender Floridians to Take Effect This Weekend

by Henry Berg-Brousseau

The New Regulation Will Deny Gender Affirming Care to Transgender Floridians of All Ages Who Rely on Medicaid

This weekend, on August 21, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)– shamelessly executing the DeSantis Administration’s discriminatory agenda – will rip away access to life-saving medical care for more than 9,000 transgender Floridians who rely on Medicaid. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemns this blatantly political move that ignores medical consensus and takes decisions about best care practices out of the hands of medical professionals and patients.

“Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration’s actions to strip Medicaid recipients of their access to medically necessary, life-saving gender-affirming health care is only the latest egregious example of the DeSantis administration’s attack on transgender Floridians.,” said Sarah Warbelow, Human Rights Campaign Legal Director. “This move goes against the recommendation of every major medical association, all of whom agree that gender-affirming care is medically necessary. After misinterpreting studies, willfully ignoring evidence, and denying the medical consensus the AHCA chose to leave thousands of transgender adults without any access to the care they need, putting the health of thousands at risk. This move by the ACHA is shameful and should be reversed immediately.”
“As it has been with these attacks across the board, the cruelty is the point,” said Nikole Parker, Equality Florida Director of Transgender Equality. “Gender-affirming care is lifesaving care. That care is now being shut off by a state agency that has been corrupted, weaponized, and stacked with extremists by a governor desperate to fuel his own political ambitions. For many, that will mean losing access to health care they have been relying upon for decades. The transgender community, like all people, shouldn’t have necessary care stripped away by extremist politicians working overtime to stoke right-wing fervor. This cynical attack is dangerous and puts the health of thousands at risk.”

After the Florida Department of Health released a preliminary report attacking the established standards of age-appropriate, medically-necessary, and often life-saving care for transgender youth in April, HRC responded with a corrected version that debunked the lies and misinterpretations that abounded in the two-page document. A recent Vice article found that 10 of the authors whose work was included in the report were unaware of their research being used, reporting that Florida “misstated their research,” and reported results “wildly out of context.” HRC’s response noted that the preliminary report drew inaccurate conclusions from cited research, relied on biased publications while ignoring the vast amount of evidence in favor of gender affirming care, took data out of context and cherry-picked misleading data.

The Medicaid ruling was based on a similarly biased report issued in June, which also relied on a gross mischaracterization of supportive research to draw faulty conclusions and false claims about gender-affirming care. In response, leading gender affirming care experts released an open letter that concluded “the June 2 Report provides no scientific support for Florida’s proposed action” and its “conclusions are incorrect and scientifically unfounded.” 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 a 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 training 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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