Judge upholds Florida rule banning Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming treatments

Tallahassee federal courthouse
Tallahassee federal courthouse(WCTV)
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 5:31 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A controversial Florida rule preventing Medicaid from paying for transgender treatments like puberty blockers and hormone therapy will remain in effect, at least for now.

Wednesday a federal judge denied a request to block the rule.

The Medicaid rule by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, or AHCA, went into effect back in August.

Since then, Medicaid patients who receive gender-affirming treatments like hormone therapy have had to either stop or find another way to pay for it.

Lawyers on behalf of transgender Medicaid recipients say this has impacted thousands of Floridians.

They argued that the rule is unconstitutional and that it discriminates against people based on their gender.

Nikole Parker, Director of Transgender Equality for Equality Florida, says she was disappointed with the judge’s decision.

“Those that are on Medicaid are already low income, trying to navigate life already, and now there has just become one extra hurdle for them, which is finding where they have to get their health care now that it’s not being covered,” she said.

AHCA has said that gender-affirming procedures may have harmful long-term effects, and described treatments like puberty blockers and hormone treatment as experimental.

In a statement to WCTV, AHCA’s deputy chief of staff said “The Agency agrees with the court’s decision today and remains committed to ensuring Florida Medicaid only covers treatments that are deemed safe and effective. We continue to stand by our evidence-based GAPMS report and thorough rulemaking process.”