FL bans on transgender healthcare funding overturned by federal judge | wayne dupree

A federal judge struck down Florida laws that previously prevented public health programs from funding transgender hormone therapy and puberty-blocking drugs.

Judge Robert Hinkle’s opinion slammed Florida officials, calling the ‘biased’ procedural ban that viewed transgender identity as ‘made up’, a ‘wish idea’ or a ploy to ‘profit the industry’ pharmaceutical or doctors”.

Do you acknowledge that there are people who actually identify with genders other than their natal sex, or do you deny this reality? Dog whistles should not be allowed, the author wrote.

When Florida’s ban went into effect in August 2022, it only applied to patients whose health insurance came from Medicaid. This program, jointly funded by the state and federal government, provides assistance to low-income people, many children, and people with disabilities.

When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ office asked the state health agency to conduct an analysis of Medicaid patients who were receiving care related to their transition, the ban began to take shape. According to Lambda Legal, one of the firms that represented transgender plaintiffs in the case, approximately 12,000 transgender patients are enrolled in Florida’s Transgender Health Care Program.

Puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgery are among the “gender-affirming healthcare” services offered by the medical community. Despite many medical organizations deeming these services medically necessary, Florida’s health agency determined they were “experimental” and stopped Medicaid from paying for them.

In response, two adults and two children under the age of 13 filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida on behalf of health care and LGBTQ+ rights organizations and four state patients. Patients had to find other ways to fund their own medical care without Medicaid coverage.

The GOP-majority Florida Legislature sent DeSantis a bill that passed the settlement while the case was still in court, and he signed it. At the order on Wednesday, Hinkle struck down the law.

Since Florida’s Medicaid program has long “paid for medically necessary treatments for gender dysphoria,” Hinkle claimed in her 54-page opinion that health officials implemented the ban “for political reasons. “.

Some people, he writes, “believe that transgender people have inappropriately chosen an opposite gender identity, male or female, just as one might choose to read Shakespeare or Grisham, and that cisgender people correctly adhere to their natal sex. “. Many people who share this view tend to be against anything transgender and therefore oppose medical care that recognizes a person’s transgender identity.

A Florida law that sought to ban transgender minors from receiving cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers was partially overturned earlier this month by Hinkle, a judge appointed by President Bill Clinton.

He wrote similarly to his earlier opinion: “The elephant in the room should be noted from the outset.” Gender identity exists. The proof is in the file.

According to Hinkle, the state has failed to demonstrate that people receive health care related to transitions without first receiving therapy and being assessed by numerous medical professionals. Even if that were the case, he argued, better regulations rather than a complete ban should be the answer.

DeSantis has made anti-trans legislation a key part of his platform in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.

He called asserting the identity of transgender people “unmoored to the truth” during a book tour in Charleston, South Carolina, in April. He also dismissed medical organizations that support transition-related health care as “ideological” and called those who support transgender care “rogue elements of the medical establishment.”

This year, he has signed several bills in Florida that have a significant negative impact on the lives of transgender people there. One of these bills makes it illegal to use a toilet in a public building that does not match the sex they were assigned at birth.

Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, attorney and healthcare strategist at Lambda Legal, said in a statement Wednesday, “It’s unfortunate that Florida politicians like Ron DeSantis have sought to attack the most vulnerable in order to score political points.”

Gonzalez-Pagan continued, “Today’s ruling, however, makes it clear that discrimination is wrong and recognizes that everyone in Florida, including transgender people, deserves equal access to lifesaving medical care based on the research.

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