Viagra vs. transgender services: Where Pentagon spends taxpayer money

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President Donald J. Trump sent out an announcement on Twitter Wednesday morning that started a firestorm of headlines, both good and bad.

After consulting with generals and military experts, President Trump tweeted that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military.

The three-part tweet reads: “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

The announcement has drawn an overwhelming backlash from liberals in every spectrum, from Washington, D.C. to Hollywood.  The ACLU vows to look at all legal options to fight the president on his decision.  Even some Republican lawmakers have opposed the President on the mandate as well.

Conservatives have long objected to the suggestion that American taxpayers should have to pay for medical services, such as hormone treatments and “gender reassignment” surgeries for transgender people in the military. Also at issue are the additional costs the military would incur to provide special accommodations for transgender soldiers.

The Hill published a report Wednesday that revealed more money has been spent on erectile disfunction medications for military members – as much as ten times more money – than the estimated annual medical costs for transgender people.

According to a 2015 report from the Military Times, the military spent $84 million on medications such as Viagra and Cialis during 2014.

In comparison, Business Insider cites a 2016 study by Rand Corporation that claims the maximum annual medical costs for transgender services are estimated at $8.4 million.

Not included in the report is how fast this estimated number is expected to skyrocket, or the cost of it’s impact upon the military as a whole.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi jumped on the data as well, also comparing how much more the military spends on viagra than it does on services for transgender people, with the exception that she said it was five times more.

Wednesday’s mandate comes after Defense Secretary James Mattis had announced a six-month delay on July 1, on an Obama administration initiative to allow transgender people to serve in the military.  In considering the matter, Mattis had expressed concern about how transgender people in the military would impact “the readiness and lethality of our forces.”

“Since becoming the Secretary of Defense, I have emphasized that the Department of Defense must measure each policy decision against one critical standard: will the decision affect the readiness and lethality of the force? Put another way, how will the decision affect the ability of America’s military to defend the nation? It is against this standard that I provide the following guidance on the way forward in accessing transgender individuals into the military Services.”

“I have determined that it is necessary to defer the start of accessions for six months. We will use this additional time to evaluate more carefully the impact of such accessions on readiness and lethality.”

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