Rep. Rosendale opposes VA funding of gender reassignment surgery

Rep. Matt Rosendale is trying to take motion in opposition to the Department of Veterans Affairs proposed rule change that might allow the company to compensate gender-reassignment surgery to transgender vets, arguing the company must focus its sources on service associated accidents — and calling on fellow members stand with him at this flashpoint within the “culture war.”

The Montana Republican, who’s a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and the conservative House Freedom Caucus, stated he’s trying to garner pushback on a grassroots degree through the rule-making course of to forestall the coverage change from being applied, however can also be exploring legislative choices to limit the VA from transferring ahead with its plans. 

“My understanding is it’s going to take up a full blown rule making process in order to get this implemented, so my hope is that we can generate enough outcry from the general public that does not feel that this is a worthy use of taxpayer dollars that possibly we can keep this from from taking place,” he advised The Post in an interview. 

United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough saying the change to cowl gender-reassignment surgery over the weekend.
Bonnie Cash/UPI

“I will be speaking with the media around the state of Montana and making sure that they hear, and we will certainly be discussing this with my colleagues in Congress, and honestly the biggest hurdle we have is just fighting the culture war, and my colleagues having the intestinal fortitude to stand up and say no this is not acceptable. We know this is wrong, we know that the Veterans Administration is not expanding proper funds to treat our veterans right now for the benefits that they were promised. And so, let’s go ahead and get focused on that.”

His feedback come within the wake of VA Secretary Denis McDonough saying the change in Florida over the weekend.

While The VA has been paying for prescription hormone remedy and psychological well being remedy for transgender veterans since 2013, a change made beneath the Obama Administration, it has not lined surgical procedures. 

A 2016 research by the Rand Corporation confirmed between  1,320 and 6,630 energetic obligation navy personnel recognized as transgender, however Rosendale stated he believes the numbers are increased, arguing it may show to be expensive for the company. 

Sen. Jon Tester.
Sen. Jon Tester praised the VA’s resolution as a step in the proper route for LGBTQ rights.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

“I mean, the first information that they presented to us was that there was probably going to be 4,000 or less veterans that were trying to utilize a service. But there’s other information that shows previously, that there was 15,000 active military that are self-described transgenders, and as many as 134,000 veterans, and when you start looking at the expense associated with that. It’s anywhere around $100,000 whether you’re male to female or female to male, one is at $90,000 and the other is $110,000,” he stated. 

“So averaging at $100,000 per operation, and we’re looking at, it’s something that could be $30 billion over the next 10 years at a time when the Veterans Administration isn’t delivering the benefits that they had promised veterans to begin with — service related injuries that they should be receiving their benefits for.” 

Rosendale’s feedback are at odds with fellow-Montana Sen. John Tester (D), who praised the transfer as a step in the proper route for LGBTQ rights. 

“Every service member and veteran deserves equal access to quality care from VA, and this includes our LGBTQ+ veterans,” he said in a statement to the Air Force Times. “We should reaffirm our dedication to creating VA a extra welcoming place for everybody who fought to guard our freedoms

Rep. Matt Rosendale.
Rep. Matt Rosendale known as the coverage change “dangerous and irresponsible,” arguing that sex-reassignment does “not improve outcomes for patients.”
Independent Record/AP

Rosendale stated he’s planning on writing a letter to McDonough calling on him to rethink his assertion. 

“As you noted in your remarks, veterans suffering from Gender Identity Disorder experience suicidal ideation at a rate significantly higher than the general veteran population. We believe that the VA pushing unproven and irreversible sex reassignment surgeries on such a vulnerable population is dangerous and irresponsible. Not only do sex reassignment surgeries not improve outcomes for patients, but what little research we do have shows that these procedures may make the problem even worse,” a draft letter obtained by The Post stated.

“In the Obama Administration’s 2016 ‘Decision Memo for Gender Dysphoria and Gender  Reassignment Surgery’, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid correctly noted  that those that had undergone sex reassignment procedures experienced ‘increased mortality and psychiatric hospitalization compared to the matched controls.’ The mortality was primarily due to completed suicides. Moreover, with so many of our nation’s heroes experiencing significant delays in receiving the  medical care they need through the VA, we believe it is disgraceful that instead of working to address problems in the access and delivery of true medical care, the VA is pushing experimental  sex reassignment surgeries on veterans.”

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