As the military considers allowing transgender members to serve openly, a new analysis shows transition care would cost around $5.6 million a year, “little more than a rounding error”.
The cost would be minimal for the Department of Defense to cover the healthcare needs of transgender troops, a new report unveiled.
Transition-Related Care Costs Too Low To Matter
The new research published amid criticism of proposed funding for trans people serving in the U.S. military, shows that only 188 would get care annually. There are currently 12,800 trans people estimated to be serving.
Researchers found that treatment costs would be of just $30,000 for hormone therapy, surgery or both, and take about six-and-a-half years on average to complete. The sum amounts to just 22 cents per service member per month. That’s minimal considering the military’s annual healthcare budget is currently $47.8 billion.
The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine involved looking at Australia, which already funds transition-related care for its military personnel.
Why Do Transgender People Enlist?
“This is possibly because many transgender women – those born male but identifying as female – seek to prove to themselves that they are not transgender by joining the military and trying to fit into its hypermasculine culture,” Belkin said.
So, What If We Don’t Want To Pay?
Well, if the cost to provide transition-related care to transgender people serving in the military will be “too low to warrant consideration in the current policy debate,” not doing so results in several negative repercussions.
“There are costs, in other words, of not providing transition-related care, due to potential medical and psychological consequences of its denial, paired with the requirement to live a closeted life,” according to the report.
The Trans Soldier Debate
Last month, defense chief Ash Carter said the US military is considering a plan that would allow transgender people to serve openly in the armed forces.
However, the repeal of ban raised questions about who would make the cash available the medical costs of surgery and other treatment associated with any gender transition.
The money-factor drew criticism. “I’m not sure how paying for transgender surgery for soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines makes our country safer,” Mike Huckabee, a presidential candidate, said in the first Republican debate last Thursday.
Transgender people now serve in the military, but their experiences vary. However, one thing’s for sure: gender discrimination in the military workplace has not been sufficiently addressed. Transgender individuals can even be discharged from duty because of their gender identity.
Admitting Transgender People In The Military
The move to admit openly transgender people into the military was accompanied by the high-profile case of male to female transitioned Chelsea Manning, who is now serving a 35-year prison term for disclosing state secrets on WikiLeaks.
What do you think of admitting transgender people in the military and the associated medial costs? Share your views in the comments sections below.