Governor of Idaho signs bill prohibiting public funds for gender-affirming care

Transgender individuals residing in Idaho will soon face restrictions when it comes to utilizing Medicaid and other publicly funded programs to assist with the expenses associated with gender-affirming medical care. Set to be implemented in July, a new state law will prohibit such coverage.

Republican Governor Brad Little discreetly approved the measure on Wednesday, just a day after it was passed by Idaho’s Republican-led Legislature. Little’s office has not yet responded to requests for comment.

Starting from July 1, the implementation of a new law will restrict the utilization of public funds for transgender minors and adults. This law will specifically prohibit the use of funds for procedures like puberty blockers, hormones, and surgeries. Moreover, it will also prevent government-owned facilities from offering these services.

Intentional lawbreakers may be subjected to charges of misusing public funds, which can result in fines of up to $10,000 and imprisonment ranging from one to 14 years.

Idaho has recently joined a coalition of Republican-led states in prohibiting the use of Medicaid funding for gender-affirming care for transgender individuals, regardless of age. This move aligns with the policies of three other states that explicitly exclude transition-related care for minors, as reported by the Movement Advancement Project, a nonprofit organization that monitors LGBTQ laws.

In June, a federal judge deemed Florida’s rule of excluding gender-affirming health care from Medicaid coverage as politically motivated and struck it down in a comprehensive 54-page opinion. Similarly, during the same month, another federal judge halted Arkansas’ ban on gender-affirming care for minors, which included a prohibition on such care in the state’s Medicaid program.

Governor Little has expressed his stance multiple times regarding the use of public funds for gender-affirming care. In a letter addressed to Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare in May, he clearly stated his opposition to utilizing Medicaid funds for puberty blockers, hormones, and surgeries for transgender individuals, both children and adults.

In a recent statement, he expressed his belief that it is unfair to burden diligent taxpayers with the cost of an adult’s sex reassignment surgery.

In April, Governor Little took a significant step by enacting a law that classifies the administration of gender-affirming care to minors in Idaho as a felony. Expressing his concerns, Governor Little emphasized the need to safeguard minors from irreversible harm caused by surgeries or treatments. However, he also stressed the importance of exercising caution when it comes to government interference in the decisions made by caring parents regarding the well-being of their children.

In December, a federal judge issued a temporary block on Idaho’s ban from being implemented. Following this, Idaho appealed the decision to the Supreme Court in February.

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MBS Staff
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