Health-Care For Our Transgender Troops, It’s Time.

The cost of providing health care to transgender troops is negligible, so why hasn't the DOD moved forward faster?

In May of this year CBS reported that the Department of Defense(DOD) gave $5.4 million dollars to 14 NFL teams to have some patriotic displays at games. Many in the military said that this was a useful tool for recruitment and that it made the public more appreciative of those who have served our country. If it did we should continue to advertise at these games.

The US has a total of 2,136,779 troops as of May 31, 2015. In 2014 it was estimated that about 15,000 of the military personnel were transgender. The total budget for the military last year was $47.8 billion with a “B.”

In the September issue of The New England Journal of Medicine Aaron Belkin, Phd. wrote “Caring for Our Transgender Troops-The Negligible Cost of Transition-Related Care.” In this essay Belkin, who has written several books on the military and diversity, said that he thought the cost for the military would be between $4.2 million and $5.6 million annually. Roughly the same as the DOD gave the 14 NFL teams for their “feel-good” campaign.

He uses the Australian military as and model for what might happen here with our military. Out of the 58,000 full-time troops in the Australian military 13 members transitioned. The total cost for the transition-related care was $287,710 US. If you use that model for the US military that would mean that they could expect about 188 members of the estimated 12,800 transgender troops who are currently eligible to utilize this health benefit. Most of this data is from the Defense Manpower Data Center and the California Department of Insurance.

We know with the up coming presidential race that spending and taxes always gets batted around. Republicans always point out what they consider a waste and they seem to have a lot of issues with the LGBTQ+ community. Lets just hope that they don’t come after this very important health-care benefit for our troops.