Trans Service Members Cost $4.1 Mil A Year – Military Spends $41 Mil On Viagra

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Early Wednesday morning, President Trump announced via Twitter that transgender individuals will not be allowed to serve “in any capacity” in the U.S. military. He named the “tremendous medical costs” that would come with providing health care to these service members as one of the primary reasons for the new exclusion.

Shortly after Trump made this announcement, The Washington Post published a report that sheds some light on his claims about transgender service members racking up “tremendous medical costs.”

In the report, WaPo referenced a Defense Department-commissioned study that was published last year by the Rand Corp. The study provided a number of estimates regarding potential medical expenses for transgender service members and found that gender-transition-related medical treatment would cost somewhere between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually.

Without any context, that seems like a lot of money. However, the authors of the study also pointed out that the increase in overall health care spending would be negligible.

‘The implication is that even in the most extreme scenario that we were able to identify … we expect only a 0.13-percent ($8.4 million out of $6.2 billion) increase in health care spending.’

The “most extreme scenario” costs for gender-transition-related medical treatment also pale in comparison to the amount of the money the military spends annually on erectile dysfunction medication. WaPo cited an analysis by the Military Times, which found that the military currently spends $84 million on this kind of medication. Of that $84 million, nearly half — $41.6 million — is spent on Viagra.

WaPo also pointed out that the amount of money that would be spent on medical treatment for transgender service members seems even smaller when compared to the costs of equipment and the Defense Department’s total annual budget. The upper estimate for annual transgender medical costs would be “less than a tenth of the price of a new F-35 fighter jet,” or “a thousandth of 1 percent of the Defense Department’s annual budget.”

Bottom line: even the highest estimate of the cost of providing health care to transgender service members is nowhere near as “tremendous” as President Trump would have the American people believe.

Journalist Jenna Ruddock recently tweeted a side-by-side comparison of costs for supporting transgender service members and the costs for erectile dysfunction pills, and the majority of her followers have made it clear that they can see right through Trump’s baseless argument.

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Featured image via Alex Segre/Getty Images.