Florida health officials have asked the state medical board to come up with new policies that would likely restrict gender dysphoria treatments for transgender youth as the state steps up its ongoing attacks on treatments amid the country’s culture wars. .

Officials also argue that such treatments should not be covered by Medicaid. In a lengthy report dated Thursday, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration said puberty blockers, cross-hormones and sex reassignment surgery have not been shown to be safe or effective in treating gender dysphoria. Tom Wallace, Deputy State Director for Medicaid, signed the report.

In response, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo wrote a letter to the state Board of Medicine asking it to review the findings and set new standards for children seeking “these complex and irreversible procedures.”

“Florida must do more to protect children from policy-based medicine,” Ladapo wrote. “Otherwise, children and adolescents in our state will continue to face substantial risk of long-term harm.”

Transgender medical treatment for children and adolescents is increasingly under attack in many states where it has been labeled a form of child abuse or subject to various prohibitions.

Many doctors and mental health specialists argue that medical treatment for transgender children is safe and beneficial and can improve their well-being, although rigorous long-term research on benefits and risks is lacking. Federal guidelines say that gender-affirming care is crucial to the health and well-being of transgender and non-binary children.

Last year, the American Medical Association issued a letter urging governors to block any legislation banning the treatment, calling such action “a dangerous intrusion into the practice of medicine.” The letter noted that medical treatments are among several “supportive interventions” promoted for transgender people. minors

This is not the first time that Florida officials have opposed such treatments. Similar steps have already been taken by the administration of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has embraced the clashes in the country’s culture war as he runs for re-election and seeks to run for president in 2024.

Last month, the administration issued guidance that contradicted federal guidelines by opposing “social gender transition” or gender reassignment surgery for children and adolescents, and puberty blockers for anyone under the age of 18.

Last year, DeSantis signed a law barring transgender girls and women from playing on public school teams intended for student-athletes identified as girls at birth.

The actions have drawn condemnation from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, an international group of doctors and others involved in treating transgender people.

“Florida’s attack on transgender communities has been relentless,” Dr. Walter Bouman, the group’s president, said in a statement Friday. He noted that the association’s US affiliate previously attacked Florida’s ongoing efforts, saying they “lack scientific merit and, in some cases, misrepresent or distort available data.”

“Florida health agencies have an obligation to support the health and well-being of their residents, including transgender residents,” Bouman said. “Instead, the state has chosen to issue misleading and dangerous reports designed to harm transgender people.”
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