Human Rights Campaign Condemns DeSantis Administration Move Banning Medicaid Coverage for Gender-Affirming Health Care

by Henry Berg-Brousseau

The New Regulation Which Takes Effect August 21st Will Deny Care to Transgender Floridians of All Ages Who Rely on Medicaid

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, cowing to the shamelessly discriminatory DeSantis Administration, announced a rule change that will — 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 this blatantly political move that will take decisions about best care practices out of the hands of medical professionals and patients.

“This new rule is the latest example of the DeSantis Administration shamefully targeting transgender Floridians,” said Sarah Warbelow, Human Rights Campaign Legal Director. “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.”

This latest action to deny care to approximately 9,000 transgender Floridians is merely one 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. A recent Vice article found that 10 of the authors whose work was included 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, leading to an open letter from gender affirming care experts 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 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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