Trump says it’s too expensive to care for transgender service members. Here’s the truth

By Andrew Joseph

President Trump on Wednesday announced that the military would no longer allow transgender people to serve, citing both “the tremendous medical costs and disruption” that would be caused by their integration into U.S. forces.

But at least two studies in recent years have found that the cost of medical care for transgender service members would be minimal.

June 2016 study from the RAND Corporation estimated that there were between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender active-duty service members — out of 1.3 million service members in total — and noted that not all of them would seek treatment related to gender transitioning. The study also estimated that the cost associated with medical care for gender transition would only increase military health care expenditures by between $2.4 million and $8.4 million each year — an increase of between 0.04 and 0.13 percent.

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24 COMMENTS

  1. @OP – A June 2016 study from the RAND Corporation estimated that there were between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender active-duty service members — out of 1.3 million service members in total

    . . . and apparently neither the military, nor the White House, has any idea how this “ban” will affect them, or how it is supposed to work in the real world!

  2. Alan

    Trump is just pandering to his evangelical puritanical squeamish base. They imagine that if we persecute trans and gays that they will all get back into their closets and we can get back to the good old days when men were men and ladies were…compliant. The reactionaries need constant reassurance that their fearless leader is making their world a less scary place and moving us all back to the last century, whether we like it or not.

  3. LaurieB #3
    Jul 26, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    They imagine that if we persecute trans and gays that they will all get back into their closets and we can get back to the good old days when men were men and ladies were…compliant.

    However – No doubt to Trump’s frustration – allied NATO forces in joint operations are going to remain visible!:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40733701

    Commanders from British armed forces have opposed any ban on transgender people serving in the military.

    It comes after Donald Trump said that transgender people would not be allowed in the US military due to “tremendous” medical costs and disruption.

    But British officials have supported people serving in the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

    Commander of UK Maritime Forces Rear Admiral Alex Burton tweeted: “I am so glad we are not going this way.”

    In response, Rear Admiral Burton of the Royal Navy tweeted: “As a Royal Navy LGBT champion and senior warfighter I am so glad we are not going this way.”

    And Second Sea Lord Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock tweeted: “So proud of our transgender personnel. They bring diversity to our Royal Navy and I will always support their desire to serve their country.

    “I suspect many who doubt the abilities of our diverse service personnel might be more reluctant to serve than they are to comment.”

    In February, the Army’s LGBT champion, Lieutenant General Patrick Sanders said: “Only if individuals are free to be themselves can we release the genie of their potential.”

    A spokesman added: “We are clear that all LGBT members of our armed forces play a vital role in keeping our nation safe. We will continue to welcome people from a diverse range of backgrounds, including transgender personnel.”

  4. I suggest you read this.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/26/trump-transgender-military-ban-behind-the-scenes-240990

    The reason Trump has suddenly done this is because some House Republicans were trying to insert a section on transgender service people into a bill which would otherwise have funded Trump’s Mexican border wall and which might have led to it not passing. What Trump is trying to do here is save his pathetic wall.

    After a week sparring with his attorney general and steaming over the Russia investigation consuming his agenda, President Donald Trump was closing in on an important win.

    House Republicans were planning to pass a spending bill stacked with his campaign promises, including money to build his border wall with Mexico.

    But an internal House Republican fight over transgender troops was threatening to blow up the bill. And House GOP insiders feared they might not have the votes to pass the legislation because defense hawks wanted a ban on Pentagon-funded sex reassignment operations — something GOP leaders wouldn’t give them.

    They turned to Trump, who didn’t hesitate. In the flash of a tweet, he announced that transgender troops would be banned altogether.

    Trump’s sudden decision was, in part, a last-ditch attempt to save a House proposal full of his campaign promises that was on the verge of defeat, numerous congressional and White House sources said.

  5. I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

    Nope, no mention of genitals or gender there at all.

    Although I predict that the “obey the orders of the President of the United States” might start being ignored in the not-to-distant future.

  6. Arkrid (#6), Laurie, others

    Rachel Maddow presented another explanation. There is, perhaps, more than one. Hers was more than plausible. Trump fears receiving flack from his recalcitrant and adoring base. Without his base he’s finished. So someone –probably Bannon – came up with this idea as a way of keeping his base happy. They love Sessions because of his “tough stance on immigration” and his courageous and laudable opposition to voter rights and civil rights.

    “So don’t worry if I fire and humiliate Sessions, fellas; here’s some nice discrimination that you can sink your teeth into.” That’s probably what he was thinking, in addition to what was mentioned above (#6).

    Purely political. Utterly sick.

    Shadowmind,

    “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”

    I wonder if it has occurred to anyone that has taken that oath that Trump and his agents of destruction are themselves enemies of the United States, domestic enemies!

  7. Alan4discussion #2
    Jul 26, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    . . . and apparently neither the military, nor the White House, has any idea how this “ban” will affect them, or how it is supposed to work in the real world!

    .. and the supporting link:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40736232

    The White House has not yet decided how it will implement the president’s ban on transgender people serving in the US military.

    Mr Trump’s surprise Twitter announcement on Wednesday has been met with criticism from rights groups.

    Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration would work alongside the Pentagon to decide how to proceed.

    It is not yet clear how the announcement will affect current transgender service personnel.

    Transgender service members have expressed concern that they will be discharged, or unable to re-enlist.

    The timing also appears to have caught defence officials by surprise.

    “The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military,” Donald Trump tweeted.

    So as usual, twitter-brain Trump babbles some half-baked notion which has occurred to him and his clueless pseudo-expert cabinet, and then discovers there is no plan or policy on how it is supposed to work.

    Mr Trump’s surprise Twitter announcement on Wednesday has been met with criticism from rights groups.

    Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration would work alongside the Pentagon to decide how to proceed.

    It is not yet clear how the announcement will affect current transgender service personnel.

    Transgender service members have expressed concern that they will be discharged, or unable to re-enlist.

    The timing also appears to have caught defence officials by surprise.

    “The United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US military,” Donald Trump tweeted.

    “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

    He added that the decision came “after consultation with my [Cherry-picked??] Generals and [alleged] military experts”.

    Several defence professionals also questioned the decision.

    Former Defence Secretary Ash Carter said:
    “To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military.”

    Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Republican John McCain, said:
    “Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving.”

    Several British military generals condemned Mr Trump’s decision, including the commander of the UK Maritime Forces, Rear Admiral Alex Burton, who said:
    “We have a justifiably rigorous selection process but it doesn’t include discrimination and we’re a better fighting force for it”.

    Some US media outlets have questioned the spending justification.
    The Washington Post drew attention to an analysis that the US military spends almost $42m (£32m) a year on the erectile dysfunction medication Viagra – several times the total estimated cost of transgender medical support.

    Rand predicted that the inclusion of transgender people in the military would lead to a 0.13% increase in healthcare spending – approximately $8.4m.

  8. I find so much that’s ironic in this matter. That a person who used his family’s money and position to obtain multiple deferments from military service and then paid a quack doctor to say he had bone spurs on his feet so he couldn’t serve is now commander in chief. That it’s generally true that the biggest bullies are also usually the biggest cowards. Like his predecessor George W who also dodged the draft and then took us into an immoral and illegal war that is still wreaking havoc on the stability of the Middle East and the world. How easy it is to be brave when you’re thousands of miles from the action and protected 24/7 by hordes of secret service personnel.

    The greatest irony to me though is when you think what transgender people have to suffer through just in their daily lives. The hatred and discrimination and fear they face was brought home to me in a wonderful documentary a couple of years back on Channel 4 in the UK. It’s called My Transgender Summer Camp and it’s about transgender children in the USA and the summer camp that was set up to give them a respite for a couple of weeks each year where they could be amongst their peers in an environment of love instead of hate.

    For people who face this much in their daily lives to enlist for military service where they know they could be subject to even more hatred and humiliation makes them in my opinion the bravest of the brave who serve. People whose boots the coward Trump is not even fit to lick. People who embody the very highest ideals of service and patriotism and who make the military they serve in more inclusive, more honourable and stronger than it could ever be without them.

    It is a tragedy that people of such character have to serve, at least for now, under a man who has none.

    For those who have a Torrent client (Utorrent etc) you can get the documentary here.

    magnet:?xt=urn:btih:E6JZVG5IYGGLR5WKZCYH3UE5Y4D5PSBM

    I urge you all to watch this.

  9. @Laurie #3

    The reactionaries need constant reassurance that their fearless leader
    is making their world a less scary place…

    Yup. That just about sums it up.

  10. Hi Vicki

    I’m pleased that you and Nitya are commenting here. I used to think that cbrown was a female and then he mentioned a past vasectomy…awkward. Sorry cbrown. It’s lonely being a female atheist. :'(

  11. Arkrid

    I didn’t hear a single mention of that situation that was explained in your politico article above. Maybe on other channels? Not that I doubt it because I don’t doubt a single word of it. I’m thinking that the stars aligned so that they could accomplish two things at once.

  12. I think this confirms the sheer lack of any research or planning of these Trump announcements!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-40740788

    Transgender people will not be banned from serving in the US military until the president issues guidance to the Pentagon, military officials say.

    Gen Dunford’s letter, shared by a CNN correspondent on Twitter, said: “I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement on the transgender policy by the President.

    There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidelines.”

    It was the Obama administration that allowed transgender people in the military to serve openly for the first time. The change was announced in June 2016 and was meant to come into effect on 1 July 2017 but the Trump administration delayed it by a further six months.

    Transgender people had to demonstrate they had been stable in their new gender for at least 18 months, and some have come out as transgender in the meantime.

    The independent Rand Corporation estimates that about 4,000 US active-duty and reserve service members are transgender, although some campaigners put the figure higher than 10,000.

    Trump supporter and political commentator Scott Presler said he disagreed with the ban but had confidence in the advice Mr Trump had received from generals, adding: “I don’t think for a second he’s prejudiced.

    Perhaps Scott Presler would have been more accurate by keeping it shorter!
    “I don’t think”, adequately states his viewpoint!

  13. LaurieB #16
    Jul 27, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Arkrid

    I didn’t hear a single mention of that situation that was explained in your politico article above. Maybe on other channels? Not that I doubt it because I don’t doubt a single word of it. I’m thinking that the stars aligned so that they could accomplish two things at once.

    The same narrative is being repeated on WaPo and I’ve also seen it on an Australian news site. This doesn’t of course make it true but it rings the bell of truth.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2017/07/27/daily-202-growing-gop-backlash-to-transgender-troop-ban-underscores-trump-s-political-miscalculation/5979535630fb0436795432a6/?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_daily202-730a-1%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.102ea085d29c

  14. Alan4discussion #18
    Jul 27, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    I think this confirms the sheer lack of any research or planning of these Trump announcements!

    Perhaps I should clarify that to say this “lack of planning”, is in regard to the applied functionality of these decisions in the real world.
    Not a lack of expedient scheming political deceptions, in seeking applause or support for Trump and his Republican cheerleaders!

    https://richarddawkins.net/2017/07/inside-trumps-snap-decision-to-ban-transgender-troops/

  15. I am so appalled that this article is uploaded on a scientist’s website. Transgenderism is a mental illness, you are born xx or xy, not one gender trapped in the body of another gender. Richard Dawkins made it clear nearly two years that a trans woman is not biologically a woman. The army in America does not need these mentally ill freaks to be permitted admission. They should be banned and transgenderism should be banned permanently.

  16. ID Anonymous #21
    Aug 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I am so appalled that this article is uploaded on a scientist’s website. Transgenderism is a mental illness, you are born xx or xy,

    Look up XXY chromosomes!

    Most men inherit a single X chromosome from their mother, and a single Y chromosome from their father. Men with Klinefelter syndrome inherit an extra X chromosome from either father or mother; their karyotype is 47 XXY. Klinefelter is quite common, occuring in 1/500 to 1/1,000 male births.

    not one gender trapped in the body of another gender.

    Oh dear! Another scientific illiterate typing pseudo-scientific nonsense in bold letters on a science site!

    Perhaps research as far as Wikipedia, could have prevented you making a fool of yourself!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Androgen_insensitivity_syndrome

    The first six grades of the scale, grades 1 through 6, are differentiated by the degree of genital masculinization; grade 1 is indicated when the external genitalia is fully masculinized, grade 6 is indicated when the external genitalia is fully feminized, and grades 2 through 5 quantify four degrees of decreasingly masculinized genitalia that lie in the interim

    Richard Dawkins made it clear nearly two years that a trans woman is not biologically a woman.

    Really? Could you give a quote that is not from a pseudo-science junk website?

    So perhaps you could start over again quoting real science if you want an evidence based rational discussion! !

  17. ID Anonymous #21
    Aug 8, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Could I also recommend some study on this link:-

    http://www.isna.org/faq/conditions/cah

    Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)

    CAH occurs when there is a broken genetic “recipe” for making cortisone in the adrenal glands (the glands on top of the kidneys that make various hormones and add them to the blood stream). Because the recipe is broken, the adrenal glands, while trying to make cortisone, may make an unusually high level of other hormones that are “virilizing”. That is, they can make XX embryos have larger than average clitorises, or even a clitoris that looks rather like a penis, or labia that look like a scrotum.

    To be more specific, intersex occurs in relation to CAH when an anomaly of the adrenal function causes the synthesis and excretion of an androgen precursor, initiating virilization of a XX person in-utero.

    Because the virilization originates metabolically, masculinizing effects continue after birth.

  18. Well said ID Anonymous (cough). It’s bad enough having a mentally ill freak in the White House without having them in the armed forces too. However I’m not sure how transgenderism can be banned permanently in practice. Perhaps if Donald Trump issued an executive order that no more transgender children can be born this would suffice? Even so would such an order have legal validity in other countries? It’s a puzzler to be sure and I suspect that transgender children will continue to be born from time to time.

    It reminds me of a tv debate I watched in the 80s when AIDS was making newspaper headlines and being called the gay disease. This was a debate on British tv but in my fading memory was perhaps being filmed in the USA because it was certainly an American man in the audience who sticks in my mind. He was apoplectic to the point of almost complete irrationality about how gays were going to kill us all as they spread this disease. How they were going to spead it to straight people was not made clear. In his final moments on microphone, red faced and shouting, he called for all gays to be rounded up and sent to an island somewhere where they could be kept under guard until they’d all died out. In his irrational panic it never occured to him that every gay person is born to a heterosexual couple. They don’t actually breed by themselves and hence it’s unlikely that isolating them would make them die out! It sticks in my mind as a reminder that like death and taxes, another cast iron certainty is human stupidity which also shows no sign of dying out.

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