Florida prohibits the use of Medicaid in gender-affirming treatments

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has reportedly passed rules preventing health care providers from charging the state’s Medicaid program for gender-affirming medical treatments.

Politico reported Thursday that the agency added new wording to the Medicaid program rules, saying it would not cover gender dysphoria treatment services, including sex reassignment surgery, puberty blockers or hormone therapies.

The outlet said the language will go into effect on August 21.

The move comes after the state-run AHCA announced in June that it had determined that these services “are not in accordance with generally accepted professional medical standards and are experimental and under investigation with the potential for long-term adverse effects.”

In a press release describing a “comprehensive review of available medical evidence and the assessment of five medical experts,” the agency said scientific studies supporting the treatments were “weak to very weak,” evidence supporting the benefits of Hormone replacement therapies are “very weak,” there have been no randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of “gender-affirming” care, there is a lack of long-term follow-up studies after reassignment surgery, and studies have not shown that the use of puberty blockers improves mental health .

“The agency will now begin the rulemaking process regarding Medicaid gender dysphoria program coverage treatments,” it said at the time.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo speaks at a news conference earlier this month. The Medicaid program's rules, which say it would not cover gender dysphoria treatment services, go into effect August 21.
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo (pictured) said that gender confirmation surgeries come with “risk”.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

In April, the Florida Department of Health issued guidelines discouraging hormone therapy, sex reassignment surgery and social transition. The department has accused the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of misleading the public.

Last Friday, the state’s medical board voted to begin the rulemaking process.

While the Washington Post reported that Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said that “clearly there is some risk” with these procedures, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association support gender-specific treatment.

LGBTQIA+ and health rights groups — including Lambda Legal, Southern Legal Counsel, Florida Health Justice Project and National Health Law Program — said in a statement that the AHCA’s actions were “morally and legally wrong and medically and scientifically unsound.”

“Ignoring thousands of public comments and expert testimonies, the Florida AHCA passed a rule denying Medicaid coverage for all medically necessary gender-affirming treatments for both adolescents and adults. Effective August 21, 2022, this discriminatory and medically unsound rule puts transgender people at risk of losing access to critical gender-affirming health services,” the groups wrote.

Shea Cutliff of the RISE Coalition during a rally against a proposed ban on gender-affirming care for transgender children and youth on July 31, 2022 at Orlando City Hall in Florida.
Shea Cutliff of the RISE Coalition during a rally against a proposed ban on gender-affirming care for transgender children and youth on July 31, 2022 at Orlando City Hall in Florida.
TNS

A group of scientists and a law professor from Yale University said in another report that the AHCA’s conclusions are “false and scientifically unfounded” and “crafted to serve a political agenda.”

A spokesman for the Florida agency, however, dismissed the scientists’ report as “another example of the left-wing university’s propaganda machine.”

The coalition vowed to fight the rules, which the organizations said represent a “dangerous escalation in Governor DeSantis’ political fervor to persecute Florida’s LGBTQ+ people, and transgender youth in particular.”

Florida joins other states including Arizona, Missouri and Texas in banning funds for the same cause.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

https://nypost.com/2022/08/12/florida-bans-medicaid-use-on-gender-affirming-treatments/ Florida prohibits the use of Medicaid in gender-affirming treatments

JACLYN DIAZ

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