The Defense Department spends 10 times as much money on Viagra and other erectile dysfunction medications than it spends on healthcare services for transgender troops.
President Trump tweeted on Wednesday that transgender service members could be forcibly separated because the Defense Department cannot “be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”
But Trump’s concerns about cost were met Wednesday with a wave of articles citing previous Military Times reporting and comparing treatment of transgender troops to erectile dysfunction.
The reports noted that the estimated $8 million per year that the Defense Department will spend on health care for about 7,000 transgender troops is minuscule compared to how much the military spends to treat sexual dysfunction in men.
Military Times first reported in 2015 that the Defense Health Agency the year before spent $84.2 million on erectile dysfunction medications for active-duty troops, eligible family members and retirees.
Moreover, the military health system had filled nearly 1.18 million prescriptions for erectile dysfunction medications since 2014 and spent a total of $294 million on those drugs since 2011.
Juxtaposing the costs of ED drugs with medical costs for transgender service members may not be an apples-to-apples comparison, but the numbers, at least, are hard.