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Judge Strikes Down Florida Ban On Medicaid Funding For Transgender Patients


Judge Strikes Down Florida Ban On Medicaid Funding For Transgender Patients

A federal judge on Wednesday struck down a Florida rule and statute championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that banned state Medicaid payments for transgender healthcare, marking the second defeat in two weeks for anti-transgender legislation in the sunshine state.

“The elephant in the room should be noted at the outset,” U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle wrote in his 54-page ruling, issued Wednesday. “Gender identity is real. The record makes this clear.”

Hinkle ruled that a Florida health code rule and a new state law violated federal laws on Medicaid, equal protection and the Affordable Care Act’s prohibition of sex discrimination.

They are “invalid to the extent they categorically ban Medicaid payment for puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones for the treatment of gender dysphoria,” Hinkle wrote.

Hinkle said the state had chosen to block payment for some treatments “for political reasons” using a biased and unscientific process and that “pushing individuals away from their transgender identity is not a legitimate state interest.”

The ruling was expected after Hinkle on June 6 partially blocked Florida from enforcing its recent ban on people under 18 receiving gender-affirming care such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy. Hinkle had previously issued a preliminary injunction so that three children could continue receiving treatment.

Republican lawmakers have introduced more than 500 bills restricting LGBTQ rights this past legislative year, passing more than 70, according to Human Rights Campaign. Twenty states have passed laws banning gender-affirming care for minors.

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