Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration moved forward with a proposal to deny Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming medical treatment such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers for transgender people.
The state’s Agency for Healthcare Administration, which oversees most of the Medicaid program, published the proposal in the Florida Administrative Register on Friday. A hearing is scheduled for July 8.
Under the proposed rule, puberty-blocking medication, hormone therapy, sex-reassignment surgeries, and other procedures used to treat gender dysphoria would not be covered under Medicaid. They would be considered not medically necessary. Services covered by Medicaid must be deemed medically necessary by law.
AHCA said earlier this month it would begin the rule-making process and issued a report to support denying treatment coverage. It claims the procedures are “not consistent with generally accepted professional medical standards” and considers them “experimental” and “investigative.”
“Following a review of available literature, clinical guidelines and coverage by other insurers and nations, Florida Medicaid has determined that the research supporting sex reassignment treatment is insufficient to demonstrate efficacy and safety,” the report, signed by Medicaid director Tom Wallace, said.
Critics of the proposed rule have vowed to fight back. They accuse Republicans of targeting the transgender community. Following the report’s release, state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo asked the Florida Board of Medicine to review the AHCA’S findings and “establish a standard of care for these complex and irreversible procedures.”
“Governor DeSantis’ agencies have misrepresented findings and distorted data to advance a political agenda, rather than relying on good science,” Jon Harris Maurer, the public policy director for the LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida said in a statement earlier this month. “This is yet another state agency being used to launch an overt attack on transgender Floridians.”
Harris Maurer added, “The transgender community, like all people, shouldn’t have their access to basic, medically necessary, and often life-saving care stripped away by extremist politicians hoping to stoke right-wing fervor. Florida should put public health over politics.”
If the proposed rule moves forward, it could face several challenges and ultimately end up in front of a state administrative law judge.