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AHCA proposes rule denying Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care

In a crowd of people at a rally someone holds up a cardboard sign that reads "Protect Trans Youth."
Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona

The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration has proposed a rule that would prohibit Medicaid from covering transgender care. The proposed Medicaid rule finds gender-affirming care is “medically unnecessary.”

If the rule is approved, Medicaid would not pay for gender-affirming treatments in Florida. That includes puberty blockers, hormones and sex-assignment surgeries for both youth and adults.

The state has released a report calling gender-affirming treatments experimental.

Tallahassee resident Alex Stanwood is in the process of transitioning. The 19-year-old says this kind of care is medically necessary for gender nonconforming individuals.

“I know my identity," Stanwood said. "I know that I need to go on hormones and if someone is transgender, they know that too. Really, people should not have opinions on it because they’re not transgender.”

This is not the first time the state has targeted transgender and LGBTQ residents. Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed into law legislation that bans transgender youth from playing sports on teams that align with their gender identity. He also signed a bill that prohibits classroom
discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in primary school.

Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ rights group, calls the rulemaking process a sham and says the claims in the report are "misleading.”

The proposed rule is scheduled for a hearing July 8 in Tallahassee.

Sarah Mueller is a journalist who has worked for media outlets in several states since 2010. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010 and worked as a print reporter covering local government and politics.