Accuracy in Media

Vice wants us all to know that Florida is being beastly – denying children’s rights even – by limiting access to “gender-affirming care” under Medicaid. When we think of what is included in that “affirming” care like reassignment surgery perhaps this might be wise. But that is to be political about the treatments themselves which isn’t our point here. Medicaid is tax paid medical care for the poorer among us – as such it doesn’t in fact treat everything. Whether it should pay for treatment that is still controversial is one of those discussions to be had, not to be declaimed about:

“‘Pure Cruelty’: Florida Is Stepping Up Its War on Trans People,” according to the headline.

“Gov. Ron DeSantis is severely limiting access to transgender healthcare for kids and adults in his state.”

Vice made up its mind on the issue before writing this piece, it appears.

But the actual limitation is on whether Medicaid funds such “gender-affirming” care as surgery, and so on. Which at one level, seems fair enough. Medicaid is, after all, what other taxpayers have to pay for for medical treatment that you receive. In the same way that what SNAP benefits, or Section 8, can be spent upon then why not what others are paying for?

Medicaid does not pay for everything. It doesn’t necessarily pay for substance abuse treatment. Basic Medicaid also doesn’t pay for chiropractic, optometry, dental, private nursing and a whole long list of things aren’t in the basic package.

What Medicaid does pay for is that basic set of medical services that the taxpayers think that it should pay for. They’re the people footing the bill after all and why shouldn’t it be that way? This being something that – as with the taxes to pay for it – should, we submit, be decided by the democratic process. Which might even vary across different states, those little laboratories of democracy.

Vice is a substantial media operation. The cable TV channel reaches 60 million American households, the magazine has a 900,000 distribution. The website, as here, gets some 25 million visits a month.

Vice may well think that gender-affirming care should be available to more Floridians. The people who pay the bills in Florida seem to disagree. The point is that actually care isn’t being denied, just the agreement to pay the bills. A difference that Vice should perhaps have made more of.




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