Florida LGBTQ+ community calls transgender care ruling a win
A federal judge struck down Florida’s rules restricting Medicaid coverage for gender dysphoria treatments
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV/Gray Florida Capital Bureau) - Medicaid can cover transgender care in Florida. A federal judge struck down Florida’s rules restricting Medicaid coverage for gender dysphoria treatments this week.
People in the LGBTQ+ community are calling it a win and are hoping for more.
“We’re encouraged to see the courts are helping,” public policy director for Equality Florida Jon Harris Maurer said.
The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration created rules last August banning Medicaid from covering transgender care.
But U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled AHCA’s policy violated federal Medicaid laws, equal protection rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment and the Affordable Care Act’s ban on sex discrimination.
Hinkle said Florida chose to block payment for some treatments “for political reasons” after he said the state admitted “gender identity is real.”
Simone Chriss is the Director of the Transgender Rights Initiative at the Southern Legal Counsel and represented the people suing the state.
“Sending a resounding message to the state and the states generally they can’t play politics with people’s lives and people’s health care,” Chriss said.
Florida is among 20 states that have enacted laws restricting or banning treatment. Even though it’s been available in the United States for more than a decade and is endorsed by major medical associations.
Maurer said it’s encouraging to see this ruling because these laws are truly affecting people across the state.
“A lot of our Floridians are struggling as these laws are going into effect. Some of these laws are being put into effect immediately. While they’re introduced for political reasons, they have real-life consequences for the LGBTQ community,” Maurer said.
A new law set to take effect next week bans gender-affirming treatments for children and makes it harder if not impossible for many transgender adults to get treatment.
Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction so children can continue receiving treatment while a lawsuit challenging that law is argued in court.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’s office and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration didn’t respond to the Gray Capital Bureau’s request for comment by the time this article was published.
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