New data shows thousands of transgender Medicaid recipients sought care in Florida

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Florida’s Medicaid regulator released the data about three weeks after it blocked coverage for transition-related medical care in early August.

DeSantis has pushed policies and laws that are seen as antagonistic toward the LGBTQ community. | Gary McCullough/AP Photo

By Arek Sarkissian

09/03/2022 07:00 AM EDT

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida saw the number of transgender Medicaid recipients seeking gender-affirming treatment almost double in recent years — yet the state still banned its program from covering such medical care.

The number of adults and children who received Medicaid coverage for behavioral therapy, hormone treatments and, in rare cases, surgery for gender dysphoria increased from 593 enrollees in 2018 to 1,209 in 2021, according to new data from Florida’s chief Medicaid regulator. Gender dysphoria refers to the feelings of discomfort or distress some transgender people experience when their bodies don’t align with their gender.

Michael Haller, chief of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Florida, said the data only bolsters claims that the state’s ban on Medicaid payments for gender affirming treatment is nothing but political theater that blocks people from accessing critical care.

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