Veto list: $500K in Orlando LGBTQ-plus funding zapped from budget
Ron DeSantis needs to take his shot at a new budget soon. Image via AP.

DeSantis budget 2
The veto comes as the DeSantis administration announced its plans to exclude from Medicaid coverage gender-affirming health care.

Lawmakers included $500,000 in funding to support an Orlando housing program for homeless LGBTQ-plus youth. However, Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed it Thursday.

This is the second year that lawmakers have included funding for the Zebra Coalition and the second year that the Governor has vetoed it.

According to the Zebra Coalition’s website, the association assists young people facing homelessness, bullying, isolation from their families, and physical, sexual and drug abuse with individualized programs to guide them to recovery and stability.

The veto coincides with an announcement from Florida Medicaid officials that the state will move to alter its existing Medicaid policy to specifically ban treatment for gender dysphoria.

Thursday’s actions were decried by advocates for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities.

“Show me where you put (or don’t) your money and I’ll show you your priorities,” said Sen. Shevrin Jones a Democrat from Miami and a gay man.

Meanwhile, in a reaction to the Medicaid announcement, Equality Florida blasted the DeSantis administration for what it called an attack on transgender youth.

“The trans community, like all people, shouldn’t have their access to basic, medically necessary, and often lifesaving care stripped away by extremist politicians hoping to stoke right-wing fervor,” Equality Florida said in a three-part Twitter post.

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) released a report summarizing what it called a “robust review” of available medical evidence and the assessment of five medical experts and determined gender-affirming care doesn’t meet the generally accepted professional medical standards.

Medicaid Director Tom Wallace deemed the health care experimental and investigational. The label is equivalent to a death knell because the Florida Medicaid program does not cover experimental care.

Meanwhile the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association support gender-affirming care for adults and adolescents. But Wallace said the endorsement of the organizations isn’t enough.

“None of those organizations relies on high-quality evidence. Their eminence in the medical community alone does not validate their views in absence of quality supporting evidence. To the contrary, the evidence shows that the above treatments pose irreversible consequences that exacerbate or fail to alleviate existing mental health conditions and cause infertility or sterility,” the report concludes.

The Medicaid report comes on the heels of state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapos recommendations against providing gender-affirming care, including social transitioning, to children.

Ladapo’s recommendations don’t have the weight of law, though, and didn’t apply to Medicaid, which is housed in AHCA.

In addition to serving as Surgeon General, Ladapo also heads the Florida Department of Health — where the state’s medical licensure boards are administratively housed.

Marc Caputo of NBC News reports Ladapo sent a letter to Florida Board of Medicine members Thursday reiterating his opposition to providing transition health care to minors. The Board meets Friday in Orlando.

Ladapo is not shy about sharing his opinions with the Board of Medicine. He attended a Board meeting earlier this year and asked the Board not to pursue disciplinary cases against physicians for posting opinions about COVID-19 treatment on social media.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.

One comment

  • TONY

    June 3, 2022 at 9:27 am

    We need to STOP giving Tax Dollars to stuff like this, the LGBTQ, BLM, ETC. They do NOT do anything GOOD for this Country.

Comments are closed.


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