A federal judge will hear arguments this week on Florida's Medicaid transgender rule
Four plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in September, arguing that the rule is unconstitutional and violates federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on sex.
A federal judge Wednesday will take up a battle about whether Florida’s Medicaid program should pay for treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy for transgender people.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle will hear arguments on a request for a preliminary injunction against a rule that the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration approved this summer to prevent reimbursements to medical providers for such treatments.
Four plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in September, arguing that the rule is unconstitutional and violates federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on sex. Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued in the lawsuit that the “health and well-being of all people, including those who are transgender, depends on their ability to live in a manner consistent with their gender identity.”
“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,” the lawsuit said.
The case deals with treatment for gender dysphoria, which the federal government defines as clinically “significant distress that a person may feel when sex or gender assigned at birth is not the same as their identity.”
AHCA contends that the disputed treatments are experimental and unproven. In a response to the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction, the state’s lawyers wrote that “Florida has a compelling interest in protecting its citizens from unnecessary and experimental treatments that are grounded in low-quality evidence and threaten to cause permanent harm like sterilization and infertility.”
“Put bluntly, based on the state’s review, the science isn’t there to support the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or reassignment surgeries for the treatment of gender dysphoria,” the state’s lawyers wrote. “And the state doesn’t want to use its Medicaid program to experiment.”