A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Florida can move forward with a new rule barring Medicaid funds from being spent on sex-changes and other transgender-related care.
A group of transgender rights organizations filed a preliminary injunction request against the rule after it was implemented by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration in August, but Judge Robert Hinkle ruled against the request Wednesday. Hinkle stated that the challenge to the rule wasn’t a constitutional one, rather a question about the Medicaid statute.
Yet, a federal court disagreed today and ruled in Florida’s favor. @AHCA_FL remains committed to ensuring Florida Medicaid only covers treatments deemed safe and effective. See the court’s ruling below: https://t.co/XpIlGRNnXI pic.twitter.com/BhoHBjMQx1
— Florida AHCA (@AHCA_FL) October 12, 2022
Transgender advocates had alleged that the rule, which prevents the state from covering most “gender-affirming” care via Medicaid, violated the equal protections clause of the constitution. “There’s nothing wrong with the state saying they will approve treatment for this and not that,” Hinkle determined. “The question here is about the Medicaid statute.”
Gender-affirming care is a euphemism for treatments that facilitate sex changes. The Florida rule covers procedures including sex-change surgeries, behavioral therapy and hormone therapy. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: DeSantis Says He Would Ban Trans Surgeries For Minors)
The groups that filed the suit did so on behalf of four plaintiffs, two of whom are 12-year-old children. Florida has taken steps to push back on the promotion of transgenderism to children in recent months, including via the highly contentious Parental Rights in Education law.
One witness who testified for the state was New Jersey resident Yaakov Sheinfeld, whose 18-year-old daughter began the process of gender transition on the advice of a therapist who diagnosed her with gender dysphoria. Sheinfeld said his daughter’s anxiety and depression never went away, even after the “gender-affirming” care began, and she ultimately died of a drug overdose.
Florida is now one of ten states that doesn’t cover sex changes and related care under Medicaid.