JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — On Wednesday, LGBTQ+ and health advocacy groups filed a lawsuit challenging the states rule that denying Medicaid coverage for transgender people. Some of the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit said they feel discriminated against and felt the need to take action.
“Based on my medical provider's recommendations, I take weekly testosterone injections as treatment for my gender dysphoria. Due to this new rule, I cannot afford my prescription anymore because it is out of my monthly price range,” Plaintiff August Decker said.
28-year-old August Decker is a transgender man and one of the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit. Since his chest surgery earlier this year, he says he finally feels comfortable in his own skin.
“I don't want to lose the person that I've become. I fear that losing access to this care will cause hard and hurtful things to have my care taken away and not know what I will do to cover it. It is deeply detrimental to my mental and physical health not to have my prescribed medication,” Decker said.
The rule adopted by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration prohibits transgender people from using Medicaid for procedures like puberty blockers, hormones, sex reassignment surgeries and any other procedures that alter gender characteristics.
Erika D'amore is a transgender female living in Jacksonville. She says she has been on hormones for years and its changed her life.
"Gender-affirming care is the only treatment for transgender people. The quality of life is so improved with it, that you deny it is an act of violence, essentially against transgender people," D'amore said.
In the lawsuit the plaintiff's argue that a person’s access to health care is a human right and should not be based on their sex, gender identity, or whether they are transgender. Simone Chriss with Southern Legal Counsel says the group is one of many challenging this rule.
“We challenge this insidious Medicaid rule because it is wrong, plain and simple. That violates the law. It ignores the science and the evidence, it contravenes the consensus of every major medical organization in the United States. And it carves out transgender people and transgender people alone from equal access to health care,” Southern Legal Counsel member Simon Chriss said.
Decker says he is fighting for the LGBTQ+ community.
“I hope it can help them with this legal fight. This rule affects the most vulnerable members of our community, particularly for trans people that otherwise would not be covered by insurance,” Decker said.
The rule adopted by the Florida Agency for Healthcare administration went into effect on August 21st. A number of LGBTQ organizations support this lawsuit.