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Tipsheet

Health Organizations Challenge Florida Medicaid Rule Blocking ‘Gender-Affirming’ Treatments

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Over 20 healthcare organizations are looking to challenge a Florida rule that prevents Mediciad from covering “gender-affirming” treatments for people who identify as transgender. This includes puberty blockers, hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery. 

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The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Academy of Family Physicians and other organizations requested approval from a judge on Tuesday to file a lawsuit challenging the rule, according to WFSU.

Reportedly, a copy of the brief said the rule would “irreparably harm” transgender Medicaid beneficiaries. Attorneys for the state objected to the brief due to the fact that a U.S. district judge has a hearing scheduled in October on a motion by plaintiffs for a preliminary injunction against the rule.

The rule, 59G-1.050, was published by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration and took effect Aug. 21. 

“Providers must inform a recipient of his or her responsibility to pay for services that are not covered by Florida Medicaid, and document in the recipient’s file that the recipient was informed of his or her liability, prior to rendering each service,” the rule said.

It outlines the different types of care not covered by Medicaid, including several types of “gender-affirming” treatment.

(7) Gender Dysphoria.

(a) Florida Medicaid does not cover the following services for the treatment of gender dysphoria:

1. Puberty blockers;

2. Hormones and hormone antagonists;

3. Sex reassignment surgeries; and

4. Any other procedures that alter primary or secondary sexual characteristics.

coalition of transgender rights organizations promptly filed a lawsuit over the rule in federal court in Tallahassee, according to Politico. In the complaint, the organizations argued that the rule violated the federal equal protection clause and prevents an around 9,000 transgender Medicaid enrollees in Florida from receiving “gender-affirming” care.

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“A person’s access to health care should not be contingent on their sex, gender identity, or whether they are transgender,” the lawsuit reads. “Empirical evidence and decades of clinical experience demonstrate that medical care for the treatment of gender dysphoria, also known as gender-affirming care, is medically necessary, safe, and effective for both transgender adolescents and adults with gender dysphoria. Gender-affirming care is neither experimental nor investigational; it is the prevailing standard of care, accepted and supported by every major medical organization in the United States.”

Politico noted in a separate report this month that Florida saw its amount of Medicaid recipients seeking “gender-affirming” care nearly double in recent years.

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