Pentagon to continue paying for soldiers’ gender transition surgeries after House vote

WASHINGTON – The Republican-led House narrowly rejected a measure on Thursday that sought to strike an Obama-era practice of requiring the Pentagon to pay for gender transition surgeries and hormone therapy.

Democrats cast the proposal as bigoted, unconstitutional and cowardly and they won support from 24 GOP lawmakers to scuttle the amendment to the annual defence policy bill, 214-209.

The amendment crafted by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., would have forbid money from being spent by the military’s health care system for medical treatment related to gender transition. Hartzler portrayed her proposal as a good government plan aimed at assuring military dollars are spent only on critical national defence needs.

Hartzler estimated transition surgeries, which she said most private insurance plans don’t even cover, could cost the military $1.3 billion over the next 10 years. Troops who have the surgery require months of recovery, she added, which means they’re unavailable to do their jobs.

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