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Judge Rules Florida Can’t Ban Medicaid Payments for Transgender Care

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TALLAHASSEE – A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the state of Florida cannot ban the use of Medicaid payments for transgender healthcare. The ruling, handed down by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle, marks a major victory for Florida’s transgender community and a defeat for Ron DeSantis.

Plaintiffs August Dekker and Brit Rothstein, both transgender people, were victorious in suing after DeSantis ordered the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to cease Medicaid payments for their care. The AHCA reportedly began to become staffed only by those who opposed access to transgender treatments.

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The basis for Hinkle’s decision was that the state’s ban violated patients’ 14th Amendment rights, guaranteeing all naturalized citizens equal protection by the law. Hinkle was also responsible for a decision on June 6th which held that the state could not block transgender healthcare from individuals under the age of 18.

The 54-page ruling issued by Hinkle was critical not only of the policy’s constitutionality but also of its intent, stating “many people with this view tend to disapprove all things transgender and so oppose medical care that supports a person’s transgender existence”. He went on to assert that “gender identity is real” and held that the policy constituted discrimination.

This ruling affirms what we’ve known: the DeSantis Administration’s rule was politically motivated, denying access to care is against the overwhelming weight of medical authority, and there is no rational basis for a state to ban such care or exclude it from Medicaid coverage,” said Equality Florida, an LGBTQ+ rights organization. “This was always about discriminatory overreach into people’s lives. In an attempt to prop up the Governor’s presidential aspirations, the state violated the federal Medicaid statute, the Equal Protection Clause, and the ACA’s prohibition against sex discrimination.”

Written By

Chris Gollon is a Flagler County resident since 2004, as well as a staple of the local independent music scene and avid observer of Central Florida politics, arts, and recreation.

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