A federal judge on Wednesday handed Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis a victory by blocking an effort to force taxpayer-funded treatments for gender dysphoria, including for children.
According to Politico, U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle denied a request from a cadre of transgender-rights and healthcare-provider groups that want to overturn a state rule that prohibits the Medicaid program from funding what liberals call “gender affirming care.”
The state ended that with its Aug. 21 rule.
Wednesday’s hearing was one battle in a lawsuit filed against the state in September. Four transgender plaintiffs, including two children, sued the state Agency for Health Care Administration, which runs the Medicaid program, to overturn the regulation.
DeSantis’ administration praised Hinkle’s ruling.
“Big win in federal court today! The request for an injunction on our Medicaid rule for the treatment of gender dysphoria was denied. Our rule banning certain treatments found to be experimental & harmful i.e. surgery, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones remains in effect,” tweeted Brock Juarez, AHCA’s deputy chief of staff.
Under the rule, Politico noted, the state Medicaid agency cannot reimburse healthcare providers for treatments such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender-reassignment surgery.
WFSU reported last month that the rule is opposed by 22 major healthcare organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
While these groups maintain that “gender affirming care” is, as their lawsuit states, “medically necessary, safe and effective,” what’s often not reported is that it is extremely lucrative for healthcare providers.
The conservative website Rebel News reported last week on a new study that found one aspect of “gender affirming care” — transgender surgery on children — was a $1.9 billion industry as of last year, and is projected to grow to $5 billion by the end of this decade.
Politico’s report suggested Judge Hinkle deflated a major part of the plaintiffs’ case by rejecting the issue of whether the rule violates a constitutional right to such procedures.
“There’s nothing wrong with the state saying they will approve treatment for this and not that,” Hinkle told the court. “The question here is about the Medicaid statute.”
During Wednesday’s proceeding, a New Jersey resident, Yaakov Sheinfeld, testified on behalf of AHCA. According to Politico, Sheinfeld said a therapist recommended that prescription hormones would ease his 18-year-old daughter’s gender dysphoria and related depression and anxiety.
The results were tragic. The young woman died of an overdose in an East Orange, New Jersey, hotel room.
“All I know is the system — the world, the Internet, her friends — informed her to take this journey,” Sheinfeld told the court. “And now she’s dead.”