Thanks to an executive order signed by President Joe Biden, transgender surgery for active service members and veterans will be paid for by American taxpayers.
According to the Washington Examiner, Biden signed an executive order on Jan. 25 titled “Enabling All Eligible Americans to Serve Their Country in Uniform,” which repeals an Obama-era policy prohibiting federally supported gender reassignment surgery.
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The military “thrives” when it is made up of “diverse Americans who can meet the stringent requirements for military service, and an inclusive military enhances our national security,” according to Biden’s order.
“As Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, I am convinced that gender identification should not be a barrier to military service,” Biden said. “Moreover, there is strong evidence that allowing transgender people to serve in the military has no significant negative consequences for the Armed Forces.”
Free gender reassignment surgery will be added to the military benefits program, according to recent Department of Defense memos.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin wrote, “This updated policy would also ensure that all medically required transition related treatment approved by law is available to all Service members.”
“Perform an evaluation of the required measures to remove the exclusion of ‘gender modification’ (gender affirmation surgery) from the medical benefits package,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough wrote to VA employees.
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McDonough requested a top-down review of department policy in February to ensure that the VA was following Biden’s executive order prohibiting discrimination against transgender service members.
“As secretary, my mission is to ensure that VA welcomes all veterans, including our transgender veterans,” McDonough said.
Hormone replacement therapy and psychotherapy for gender dysphoria are listed as “protected facilities” by TRICARE, the military’s health insurance company.
On its website, the health care provider notes that “generally, surgery for gender dysphoria is not covered by TRICARE.” “Active duty service members, on the other hand, can seek a waiver if their physician determines that surgery is medically required.”
“The Pentagon has spent almost $8 million treating more than 1,500 transgender troops since 2016, including 161 surgical operations,” according to a 2019 report from USA Today. “On active duty and in the reserve military,” the investigation found, “1,071 service members have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Public Health Service.”
The cost of gender reassignment surgery will exceed $100,000.
According to a 2017 survey, there are more than 134,000 transgender veterans and 15,000 service members.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind. ), an Iraq War veteran who serves on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, supports transgender people in the military but opposes taxpayer funding of sex-change surgeries.
“Forcing taxpayers to finance sexual reassignment surgery for those in the military is radical and fresh ground for a presidential government,” Banks told the Examiner. “I sympathize with people who wish to have this type of surgery, but taxpayers should not be on the hook to pay for it.” The fact that Congress hasn’t passed these proposals is questionable from a constitutional standpoint, but the administration is moving ahead with its agenda.