Jul 26, 2017 - Politics & Policy

Study: Transgender military members don't drive up costs

Csaba Krizsan / MTI via AP

President Trump's announcement this morning banning transgender individuals from military service stated that their service would cause the military to be "burdened with tremendous medical costs and disruption." However, a 2016 study by the nonpartisan RAND Corporation on the topic indicated just the opposite.

Why it matters: The reasons that Trump and his "generals and military experts" gave for the ban don't stand up to scrutiny, and the announcement seems more of a play to his base and a distraction from his growing discontent with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

  • The numbers: RAND estimates that there are about 2,450 transgender individuals in active duty assignments and another 1,510 in the Selected Reserve.
  • The medical costs: The study showed that not all transgender individuals seek out gender transition-related health care, estimating that the total costs from gender transition among military members would be between $2.4 million and $8.4 million — 0.005% to 0.017% of all Department of Defense health care spending.
  • The disruption: Using their highest estimates, RAND found that gender transition-related health care would prevent less than 0.1% of military forces from deploying — compared to the 14% of active duty Army members prevented from deploying because of routine legal, medical, or administrative reasons.
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