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Florida Creates Rule Barring Medicaid From Covering Sex Change Hormones and Surgeries

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has a new published law barring Medicaid coverage from being used to cover sex change hormones, puberty blockers, and surgical procedures for transgender Floridians.

The new rule is scheduled to take effect on August 21.

According to the rule, Florida’s Medicaid program will no longer cover “procedures that alter primary or secondary sexual characteristics” when being used to treat “gender dysphoria.”

Politico reports that “Florida’s Department of Health also accused the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Academy of Pediatrics of misleading the public into believing the treatments are safe.”

Multiple organizations have vowed to try and block the rule in court.

“Ignoring thousands of public comments and expert testimony, Florida’s AHCA has finalized a rule that will deny Medicaid coverage for all medically necessary gender-affirming care for both youth and adults. This discriminatory and medically unsound rule will take effect on August 21, 2022, putting transgender people in jeopardy of losing access to critical gender-affirming health care services,” Lambda Legal, Southern Legal Counsel, Florida Health Justice Project, and National Health Law Program said in a joint statement about the rule.

The statement continued, “AHCA’s actions, at the behest of Governor DeSantis and his political appointees, are morally and legally wrong as well as medically and scientifically unsound. This rule represents a dangerous escalation in Governor DeSantis’s political zeal to persecute LGBTQ+ people in Florida, and particularly transgender youth. Lambda Legal, Southern Legal Counsel, Florida Health Justice Project, and National Health Law Program denounce Florida’s cruel effort to strip transgender Floridians on Medicaid of the ability to access essential, medically necessary, and often lifesaving medical care.”

The organizations said that they will “defend the rights of transgender people in Florida in whatever forum necessary to protect their rights to access health care coverage that is readily available to other participants in Florida’s Medicaid program. The lives, health, and wellbeing of transgender Floridians are at stake, and we stand ready to vindicate their rights.”

Earlier this month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis publicly suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren for vowing not to enforce any abortion laws or bans on sex change procedures and hormones for minors.

Judges in Georgia and West Virginia recently blocked similar rules from each state’s Medicaid programs.

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