by FRC's Joshua Arnold
The Department of Veterans Affairs hasn't wasted this many taxpayer dollars since the Obama administration. On Saturday, Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced the VA would start the regulatory ball rolling on conducting transgender surgeries for veterans in their taxpayer-funded hospitals. The announcement was an early Father's Day gift for the transgender lobby -- although they probably are working to have the holiday renamed Happy Care-giver 1 or 2 Day.
It was only a matter of time before the Left's social experimentation in the military spilled over to other agencies. In the waning months of the Obama administration, LGBT activists in the military overturned longstanding policies to not only welcome people struggling with gender dysphoria, but also to pay for their reassignment procedures -- wasting taxpayer dollars and compromising America's military readiness in response. President Trump reversed the Obama administration's decision, but President Biden has both reinstated Obama's policy in the military and directed the VA to follow suit with this redirection of limited resources from vital services.
The Biden administration has weaponized the VA to advance its "radical, extreme agenda," Representative Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) said on "Washington Watch." In addition to gender reassignment, the VA is also considering financing abortions. Rosendale led 137 Republican members of Congress in urging VA Secretary McDonough against funding abortions for veterans at taxpayer expense. "It's just stunning and frightening for the party that proclaims their belief in science" to toss science overboard, said Rosendale.
Although the Biden administration is proudly waving a metaphorical rainbow flag over the VA, they are less proud about how much the plan will cost. Even the Washington Post's puff piece on the announcement admitted, "the cost to VA is unknown." They tried to soften that admission by claiming, "it's estimated that fewer than 4,000 veterans would be interested in this surgery." No one knows who concocted that number -- or how. The paper that 50 years ago brought you Watergate now can't even bring you a source for made-up numbers.
Back in 2016, FRC pieced together an estimate of what the military would pay to cover gender reassignment surgeries -- far higher than the Washington Post's spin. At the time, there were an estimated 8,800 active-duty military personnel with gender dysphoria, of which nearly 7,000 would desire surgery if all expenses were covered, according to our estimate. Today, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality, there are more than 15,000 people in the military who identify as transgender, and more than 134,000 who are veterans.
Each procedure carries a hefty price tag. Five years ago, FRC found "a comprehensive package of male-to-female surgical procedures would cost $110,450, and female-to-male procedures would cost $89,050." In 2016, the military would have borne a cost of $746.6 million for surgeries alone, and an additional $969.2 million over the next nine years in monthly hormone treatments (which must be taken indefinitely even after surgery), totaling over $1.7 billion over 10 years.
If the VA successfully moves to cover gender reassignment surgery, taxpayers would be forced to cover the expenses of an estimated 15 times as many people with gender dysphoria who might choose to seek and receive surgery for free. Factor in the 12.2 percent cumulative inflation since 2016, and the cost to taxpayers approaches $30 billion over 10 years, or 12 percent of the VA's budget for fiscal year 2021.
We already know who's on the hook for this: you are, along with the veterans who may not get life-saving treatment so that the Left can march their radical agenda forward. The Left defends gender reassignment surgery as health care, but it isn't health care. It destroys or removes healthy organs, permanently marring men and women created in God's image in a way many will -- and have -- come to regret.