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AHCA proposes rule denying Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care

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.

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Sarah Mueller is the first recipient of the WFSU Media Capitol Reporting Fellowship. She’ll be covering the 2017 Florida legislative session and recently earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield. Sarah was part of the Illinois Statehouse press corps as an intern for NPR Illinois in 2016. When not working, she enjoys playing her yellow lab, watching documentaries and reading memoirs.