Transgender healthcare costs in the military: The real deal
US President Donald Trump was at it again, this time calling for a ban for transgender people in military service because of the “tremendous” transgender healthcare costs via Tweeter.
Currently, there are around 1,320 to 6,630 transgender active-duty service members. This is out of 1.3 million service members in total.
However, military LGBT advocacy groups said the estimate could be much higher at about 15,000 troops. Not all of these soldiers are seeking treatment for gender transitioning, or fewer than fewer than 0.1 percent.
So how much does transgender healthcare really cost the US military?
Spending for transgender healthcare costs
According to a 2016 study by Rand Corporation, the cost of healthcare for transgender military members can’t compare to the Pentagon’s annual budget.
The study, commissioned by during the administration of then-President Barack Obama, revealed that transgender-related healthcare for active-duty military would range from US$2.4 million to US$8.4 million.
Given that the high-end estimate of US$8.4 million is based on the scenario that members of the military are twice as likely to be transgender, this is not billions as alleged by critics– including Trump.
How much does a fighter jet cost for the US military? The Pentagon is spending US$8.2 billion for 90 F-35s from Lockheed Martin, or US$91.1 million per plane.
For the fiscal year of 2014, Pentagon spent US$6.27 billion on healthcare costs for all active-duty personnel.
Likewise, they also spent US$49.3 billion on ALL healthcare costs, from the members of the military and their families, to retirees and their families
Criticism against transgender healthcare costs
A similar study done in 2015 that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine had similar cost estimates.
The study estimated the cost as US$4.2 million to $5.6 million compared to the military’s US$47.8 billion annual health care budget.
Presently, the Pentagon has to cover the cost of gender-reassignment surgery with a recommendation from the doctor and approval from the military as per the order of the Obama administration last year.
The same order allowed current transgender service members to serve openly in the military.
However, President Trump said the presence of transgenders would cause a “disruption” in the military.
Likewise, Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler (Mo.) had pushed a measure to stop the acceptance of transgenders in the military.
Citing estimates that the treatment could cost the US military US$1.3 billion over a decade and those who would receive treatment would be out of service for months, Hartzler said, “It makes no sense to create soldiers who are unable to fight and win our nation’s wars.”