Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds an LGBT rainbow flag given to him by supporter Max Nowak during a campaign rally

DoD Reportedly Spends 10X More On Erectile Dysfunction, Viagra Than On Trans Troops’ Medical Costs

The Department of Defense (or DoD) and Donald John Trump have some explaining to do, according to critics. If the government spends significantly more in its Armed Forces budget on erectile dysfunction and Viagra than on gender reassignment surgery, why are transgender troops no longer welcome in the military — particularly, since the reason given for a ban is to lower the budget deficit and “burden.”

The president made a seismic move on Wednesday morning by announcing the military’s reinstatement of the transgender ban. The reaction from the public, including members of the LGBTQ community, celebrities, and Republican lawmakers, was equally thunderous.

In a series of tweet proclamations, President Trump shocked the electorate by saying, in no uncertain terms, that the government will no longer allow transgender people to serve in the military. The about-face comes one year after the DoD during the Obama administration struck down the longstanding embargo on this specific LGBTQ group, according to an NPR report.

Several theories abound as to why President Trump blindsided the public by bringing back the military transgender ban. One theory is that he targeted trans troops to make room in the budget for his promised border wall with Mexico.

Another guess is that Trump is being influenced by Vice President Pence‘s conservative views on marriage. The Daily Beast wrote that White House insiders say Pence “has been pushing hard for this kind of policy shift in the military, as had senior officials such as chief strategist Steve Bannon.” Still, Trump maintains that the move to ban transgender personnel from the military is for cost-saving measures at the DoD. Physicians responded by tweeting protests against the president’s ban.

People magazine wrote that the costs to address the needs of transgender troops are negligible, based on “the big picture.” Citing a Rand Corporation study in 2016, researchers found that as many 6,630 transgender troops are on active enlistment and another 4,160 are assigned to the reserves.

A closer look showed that only about 1.94 percent of active duty enlistees would have plans to seek subsidies for gender transition surgery and care. While medical annual costs amount to about $8.4 million, this figure reflects only 0.017 percent of overall spending. As a study in the New England Journal of Medicine points out, the treatment of transgender troops amounts to “little more than a rounding error” in the DoD’s budget.

Critics say the president made a political move to reflect his base and is using the budget as a smokescreen. Sources point out that if Trump is targeting areas in the budget to lessen the deficit, there are plenty other areas that are not subject to mandates.

One such expenditure that opponents of the measure say warrant a look is the prescription drug Viagra. Based on a Metro News report, the military spends over $84 million annually for erectile dysfunction patients.

Of that total, nearly $42 million or half of this DoD expenditure is spent on Viagra. As can be seen, the expenses to cover ED prescriptions and care amount to 10 times more than the costs to provide care for transgender troops undergoing surgery.

Share your thoughts about Trump’s DoD transgender ban and the rationale behind the Obama administration’s policy reversal.

[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

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