Defense Department Says It Spent $8 Million on Trans Related Care Since 2016

Army Capt. Alivia Stehlik, second from left, together with other transgender military members, from left, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann, Army Capt. Jennifer Peace, Army SSgt. Patricia King, and Navy Petty Officer Third Class Akira Wyatt, testify about their service before a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, as the Trump administration pushes to ban their service. Stehlik is a graduate of West Point and served in Iraq.Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Overall data shows the DOD spends over 25 that amount on erectile dysfunction.

According to a report by the Associated Press, new data provided by the Defense Department shows that they treated 1,525 service members who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria from July 1, 2016 to February 1, 2019. Currently, there are 1,071 who are still serving, 20 of whom are senior officers.

The military had spent about $8 million on transgender care, which includes $5.8 million for psychotherapy and about $2 million on transition related surgeries. Most of the procedures completed were for breast reductions and hysterectomies. There were about 23,000 psychotherapy visits and about 160 surgeries.

President Trump had cited “tremendous medical costs” as the reason for his announcing the ban via Twitter back in July 2017. At that time, it was estimated by the RAND Corp that it could cost the military up to $8.4 million annually.

To put things in perspective, the military is spending roughly $3.2 million a year on transgender care compared to the roughly $41.6 million a year they spend on Viagra alone and the $84.24 million spent on erectile dysfunction prescriptions overall. The military's annual health care budget is over $50 billion.

The new information comes as transgender service members testified before Congress on Wednesday. The hearing was held by a subcommittee that is chaired by Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier. She has introduced bipartisan legislation that would prohibit the Department of Defense from denying the enlistment or continued service of transgender people if Trump’s ban were to take effect. The Senate has also introduced similar legislation, but it is unclear as to whether the legislation would be voted on as a standalone bill or as part of the defense bill, the latter of which would make it harder for the President to veto.

From left, transgender military members Navy Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann, Army Capt. Alivia Stehlik, Army Capt. Jennifer Peace, Army Staff Sgt. Patricia King and Navy Petty Officer Third Class Akira Wyatt, prepare for the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, as the Trump administration pushes to ban transgender troops. This is the first ever hearing where transgender military members openly testified in CongressPhoto: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Similar legislation was introduced in the Senate, though it is unclear whether the legislation would be voted on as a stand-alone bill or be folded into the defense bill, which could be harder for President Trump to veto.

Speier has called the transgender military ban "discriminatory, unconstitutional and self-defeating" and has said that lifting the barrier for transgender people to serve by the Obama administration in 2016 has been an "unequivocal success."

She also added that banning transgender people from serving “would cost us recruits at a time when so few Americans are willing to serve." She called the transgender troops who testified Wednesday "exceptional, but also exceptionally normal."