The sum amounts to just 22 cents per service member per month, said Aaron Belkin, an academic at San Francisco State University, adding that the military’s annual healthcare budget is now $47.8 billion.
But there are in face already thousands of transgender people serving in the military. According to Belkin, out of those transgender service members, just 188 will need transition-related healthcare in a particular year, which would lead to an annual expenditure of $5.6 million. “The National Center for Transgender Equality urges the Department of Defense to quickly end the discriminatory policy and allow trans people to serve openly and with dignity”.
But along with considering whether or not to “let” transgender people serve openly, there has also been an analysis as to how much transition care would cost the military a year. The vision of Carter is every human being who is able and who wants to serve the military should get the opportunity to do so and everyone should enjoy equal rights, equal opportunity and equal dignity as well as equal respect which they deserve.
A recent research published article in New England Journal of Medicine is suggesting that overall cost of military transition-related care, if it would be implemented, for transgender personnel that are serving in the United States armed forces, is believed to be very negligible or minor. Factors that could raise the cost of providing transition-related care would be if the military covers more procedures than the typical private insurance plan, if care is extended to servicemembers’ family members or dependents, and if an influx of transgender people join the military for the objective of medical benefits. The data indicated that the cost would amount to little more than a rounding error on the military’s budget.
Belkin notes, “This is possibly because many transgender women-those born male but identifying as female-seek to prove to themselves that they are not transgender by joining the military and trying to fit into its hypermasculine culture”.
“There are costs, in other words, of not providing transition-related care, due to potential medical and psychological consequences of its denial, paired with the requirement to live a closeted life”, he said in the report.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter on July 13 ordered the formation of a working group to examine the U.S. military’s longstanding prohibition on allowing transgender men and women to serve openly in the military. “I’m not sure how paying for transgender surgery for soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines makes our country safer”, Mike Huckabee, a presidential candidate, said in the first Republican debate last Thursday.
The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that barred gays from serving openly in the military was repealed in 2011, but it did not apply to transgender troops.