Florida Health Officials Again Advance Plans to Attack Transgender Floridians, Reject Consensus of Medical Professionals

by Delphine Luneau

New Report From State’s Agency for Health Care Administration Seeks to Launch Process to Deny Gender-Affirming Care to Medicaid Patients

TALLAHASSEE — Following up on a thoroughly discredited preliminary report in April, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) on Thursday released an expanded report that repeats many of the same fallacies in the name of rejecting the medical consensus on gender affirming care. In response, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned the move as a transparent ploy to create controversy, ignore medical best practices, and refuse to provide age-appropriate, medically-necessary care to some Floridians for purely partisian, discriminatory reasons.

In the new report, the AHCA indicates that it intends to move forward with a rulemaking process that would result in denying Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming treatments in Florida. If this were to go through, approximately 9,000 transgender Floridians insured with Medicaid could be impacted.

In a year when Florida officials have already unleashed repeated, mean-spirited attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, this latest move by the DeSantis administration to deny best practice, age-appropriate, medically-necessary health care to transgender people is simply one more purely partisan attack on LGBTQ Floridians— timed to coincide with the start of Pride Month. Gender-affirming care is lifesaving – that, unlike the material in this report, is a fact – and this medical care is neither experimental, nor new. 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.”

Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign’s State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel

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.

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