The Military Spends 5 Times More on Viagra Than it Would on Trans Soldiers' Care

Yet Donald Trump said "tremendous medical costs" played into decision to ban trans people from serving in the military.

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Jul 27 2017, 4:50pm

Saul Loeb/Getty Images; Bloomberg/Getty Images

Yesterday morning, our Commander in Chief tweeted that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military saying, in part, that the United States "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

But just last year, a report commissioned by the Pentagon found that transition-related medical care would cost the military between $2.4 and $8.4 million per year. The Department of Defense's budget was $502 billion in 2014. Tremendous costs, these are not. The report, from the RAND Corporation, also said permitting trans troops would have minimal effect on military cohesion or readiness. Following the report, the DoD announced in June 2016 that trans people would be able to serve openly in all branches of the military, lifting a previous ban. RAND estimates that there are already 1,320 to 6,620 trans people serving in the military.

If Trump is so worried about medical costs, perhaps he should look at other things the military is spending its money on, like erectile dysfunction drugs. Military Times reported that the Department of Defense spent $84 million on ED drugs in 2014, including $41.6 million on Viagra and $22.8 million on Cialis. As the Washington Post helpfully points out, that means the military spends 5 times as much money on a single ED drug than it would spend on medical care for trans soldiers—and that's using the high-end estimate for the latter. Spending on all ED drugs combined would be 10 times that amount.

The annual bill for trans soldiers would be roughly equivalent to four of Trump's trips to Mar-a-Lago, which are estimated to cost taxpayers $2 million a pop. Politico reported that Trump decided to ban trans troops altogether because some Republican congressmen opposed to military-funded trans care had threatened support for a spending bill. That bill funded campaign promises, including money for the Mexican border wall. You know, the one Mexico was going to pay for.

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