The VA is pulling the plug on a controversial plan to allow sex-change surgeries for transgender veterans, citing issues of an already thinly-stretched budget.
In a statement released on Monday, VA officials said that while they plan on continuing healthcare assistance to transgender veterans by offering “hormone therapy, mental health care, preoperative evaluation” and other services,” the rule change concerning the controversial surgeries will be delayed until “appropriated funding is available.”
“Increased understanding of both gender dysphoria and surgical techniques in this area has improved significantly and is now widely accepted as medically necessary treatment,” the statement said. “VA has been and will continue to explore a regulatory change that would allow VA to perform gender alteration surgery.”
Despite VA leaders suggesting the overturn of a ban on sex-change operations, it has been determined that while the idea is worth thought, it may not be financially feasible
However, some conservative interest groups call the idea of forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for such procedures ludicrous, with a few Republican lawmakers pushing back against the idea of sex-change operations both in the DoD and VA arenas.
According to Military Times, LGBT advocacy group officials from the American Military Partner Association called the VA decision “a deeply disappointing setback.”
“All of our nation’s veterans, regardless of their gender identity, deserve access to the medical care they earned serving our nation,” AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack said in a statement on Monday. “This is a deeply disappointing setback in making sure an often medically necessary procedure for transgender veterans is part of that care. Moreover, as we face a new incoming administration, we implore fair-minded Americans to stand united in holding our new administration officials accountable by insisting this be fixed.”
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