Florida announced a new policy that blocks transgender individuals from using Medicaid to receive gender-affirming healthcare in a move that continues the state’s escalation against the local LGBT community.

The rule, which was approved by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), will take effect on Aug. 21, will keep adult transgender individuals from receiving gender-affirming healthcare like puberty blockers, hormones, or surgery through the government Medicaid program, according to the Hill.

The new policy, which has been consistent with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stance on trans and gender-nonconforming children, has been controversial with the LGBT community and inconsistent with the current federal policy and scientific studies on the topic, ABC News reported.

“Because gender-affirming care encompasses many facets of healthcare needs and support, it has been shown to increase positive outcomes for transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents,” the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said in a publicly-released statement.

“Science, medicine, and evidence-based approaches have demonstrated time and time again that transition-related care is medically necessary and life-saving care, and if this proposal is adopted, it will go against the recommendation of every major medical association,” Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said.

In spite of this consensus from the scientific community regarding the benefits of gender-affirming healthcare to transgender individuals, the Florida AHCA has been in staunch opposition, calling such healthcare “experimental” and using experts from anti-trans organizations like the American College of Pediatricians, which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“This rule represents a dangerous escalation in Governor DeSantis’s political zeal to persecute LGBTQ+ people in Florida, and particularly transgender youth,” a joint statement from Lambda Legal, the Southern Legal Counsel, the Florida Health Justice Project and the National Health Law Program said.

Florida will be one of eight states across the United States to ban Medicaid coverage for trans healthcare. It’s estimated that 32,000 of the roughly 152,000 U.S. trans adults enrolled in Medicaid are in states that do not allow for coverage of gender-affirming healthcare.

A new policy in Florida that was released on Wednesday bans Medicaid coverage for Gender-affirming healthcare meant for transgender individuals, as anger from the LGBT and human rights community grows. This is a representational image. Kyle/Unsplash.

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