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Thanks, Obamacare? Medicare, Medicaid Transgender Coverage Tripled, Even Before ‘Caitlyn Jenner’

A new study by researchers at Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University revealed that taxpayer funding for transgender surgery tripled between 2012-2013 and 2014, a year before celebrity Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner publicly announced his gender transition to "Caitlyn." The paper suggested Barack Obama's health care law — "Obamacare" — played a key role.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) — Surgery on February 28, examined 37,827 people diagnosed with trans-sexualism (TS) or gender identity disorder (GID) over a period of 14 years (2000 to 2014). The number of TS or GID individuals increased 3.67-fold, from 3.87 per 100,000 patients in 2000 to 14.22 per 100,000 patients in 2014.

While only 10.9 percent of these people undertook surgery to make their physical bodies conform to the sex opposite their biological sex, those who did were increasingly subsidized by Medicare and Medicaid. "The percentage of patients who were seeking these procedures and who were covered by Medicare or Medicaid increased by 3-fold in 2014 (to 70) compared with 2012-2013 (from 25)," the paper reported.

"This expansion of coverage may represent an important first step in enabling transgender patients to access previously unaffordable, yet necessary, gender-affirming care," the authors wrote.

Interestingly, the paper also tied taxpayer funding going to transgender surgery to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. "In addition, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014 may have had a role in this increase."

In 2016, Obama's Department of Justice (DOJ) redefined "sex" in the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prohibit "discrimination" against transgender people. Obamacare did not include any provisions explicitly endorsing transgender identity, and it seems unlikely the president intended this law to force taxpayer funding for a controversial issue. Even so, Obamacare could have bolstered the transgender movement before Bruce "Caitlyn" Jenner made it mainstream.

The suggestion that this coverage is "necessary" and "gender-affirming" is quite debatable. Many transgender people — even those who have taken hormones and undergone surgical procedures to confirm their identities — have later rejected their identity and reverted to their birth sex.

"I am a real, live 22-year-old woman, with a scarred chest and a broken voice, and five o'clock shadow because I couldn't face the idea of growing up to be a woman, that's my reality," Cari Stella, a YouTube artist who once identified as transgender, admitted in a deeply personal video. Max Robinson, a 21-year-old woman who once identified as a man, said of hormone therapy, "It's not a cure at all."

Even cross-sex hormones, much less invasive and less irreversible than transgender surgery, have permanent side-effects.

Despite the high pedigree of Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University, the scientific basis of affirming transgender identity is rather questionable. As Bill Nye taught in the 1990s, transgenderism has no basis in genetics. People with two X chromosomes are female, and those with one X and one Y are male. While different societies have different conceptions of how men and women should act, that does not mean it is wise for a man to try to become a woman or vice versa.