U.S. military spends 10 times more on erectile dysfunction than transgender care

President Donald Trump announced this morning transgender individuals would no longer be able to serve in the military because of healthcare costs but analyses suggest they pale in comparison to the costs of other services.
By Amy Wallace  |  July 26, 2017 at 6:21 PM
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July 26 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump today announced via Twitter that he was banning transgender Americans from serving in the U.S. military in any capacity due to "tremendous medical costs."

Several analyses suggest, however, that the U.S. military spends far less on transgender-related healthcare than on treatment for erectile dysfunction -- a total of $84 million on erectile dysfunction drugs annually, compared to an estimated $2.4 million to $8.4 million spent per year on transgender healthcare.

In the last several years, the estimates for the annual costs of transgender members of the military is less than one-tenth the cost of development of the F-35 and one-thousandth that of the Pentagon's entire budget, the Washington Post reported.

Since 2011, the U.S. military has spent $294 million, the equivalent of four U.S. Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, on drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, the Military Times reported in 2015. And the Department of Defense spent $41.6 million on the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra alone in 2014.

This cost, for one drug, stands in stark contrast to the estimates of military spending annually on transgender-related healthcare and transition costs, according to a study by the Rand Corp.

"Having analyzed the cost that the military will incur by providing transition-related care, I am convinced that it is too low to warrant consideration in the current policy debate," San Francisco State University professor Aaron Belkin wrote in a 2015 analysis in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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