Academics attack Florida’s plan to limit transgender treatment

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A plan by Florida health officials that would likely limit Medicaid insurance coverage for gender dysphoria treatments for transgender people lacks strong medical justification and may be politically motivated, according to a group of scholars from Yale University and other schools.

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration said puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and sex reassignment surgery have not been shown to be safe or effective in treating gender dysphoria. Tom Wallace, the state’s deputy director of Medicaid, signed off on the report last month.

But a group of seven scientists and a law professor from Yale and other schools said in a report last week that the Florida agency’s findings were “incorrect and scientifically unfounded”. Florida’s findings are so flawed “that it seems clear that the report is not a serious scientific analysis but rather a document designed to serve a political agenda,” according to the academics.

“Medical treatment for gender dysphoria meets generally accepted professional medical standards and is neither experimental nor experimental,” the academics’ report said.

A spokesperson for the Florida health agency dismissed the academics’ report as “another example of the left-wing academic propaganda machine.”

“The Yale ‘review’ is a hodgepodge of baseless claims using ‘expert opinion’ that lacks any kind of real authority or scientific credibility,” said Brock Juarez, director of communications for the Yale. ‘AHCA, in an email to news outlets.

Transgender medical treatment for children and adolescents has come under increasing attack in many states where it has been labeled a form of child abuse or subjected to various prohibitions. Critics point to the irreversible nature of many elements of gender transition treatment.

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

Last year, the American Medical Association released a letter urging governors to block any legislation banning the treatment, calling such action “a dangerous intrusion into the practice of medicine”.

Among the criticisms of Florida’s ACHA report is that studies on the benefits of treating gender dysphoria are of “low quality,” which generally means they involve observational studies and not controlled trials. randomized trials, which are considered the gold standard of medical research.

The review by Yale-based academics indicates that randomized trials cannot be conducted for all potential treatments or conditions, in part for ethical reasons, and that many medical recommendations have been based on observational studies. He cites as an example prescriptions to lower cholesterol with statins, drugs that are given to millions of older Americans every year and are covered by Medicaid.

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