ORLANDO WEEKLY – Two minors who are plaintiffs in a challenge to a state rule prohibiting Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming care for transgender people won’t have to undergo “mental examinations” as requested by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration, a federal judge ruled Monday.
Lawyers for the state Agency for Health Care Administration, which largely oversees the Medicaid program, last month asked U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle to allow evaluations of patients identified as “Susan Doe” and “K.F.” [Hinkle was nominated to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida by President Bill Clinton on June 6, 1996.]
But during a telephone hearing Monday, Hinkle said the state failed to show the need to subject the children to the two-hour evaluations.
“If you want to know whether these plaintiffs need this care, probably the crucial place to start is with the treating physicians who said they need this care,” Hinkle said, noting that the state hasn’t sought to depose the plaintiffs’ doctors. “My conclusion is these minors should not be compelled to undergo the requested examinations.”
The DeSantis administration last summer approved a rule to stop Medicaid payments to medical providers for such treatments as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender-reassignment surgery after deciding the treatments are “experimental.”
The costs of such surgeries, services and medications can run to thousands of dollars per month.
Four transgender plaintiffs, including Susan Doe and K.F., filed a federal lawsuit challenging the rule, alleging treatment for gender dysphoria is “medically necessary, safe and effective” for transgender children and adults.
The federal government defines gender dysphoria as clinically “significant distress that a person may feel when sex or gender assigned at birth is not the same as their identity.”
In the lawsuit, parents of the children diagnosed with gender dysphoria expressed concern that the changes to the Medicaid program would have a negative effect on their children’s mental health and could even lead to attempted suicide.
In a motion filed Jan. 17, attorneys for the DeSantis administration requested evaluations “to confirm whether or not plaintiffs suffer from gender dysphoria” … READ MORE.