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The Government Spends Way More On Viagra Than Transgender Troops

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Yesterday morning, President Trump announced via Twitter that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military. His reason? "[The U.S. Military] cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," he wrote on Twitter.

But if you crunch some numbers and look at the big picture, those presumably "tremendous" costs aren't really that bad at all. As of right now, there are between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender people on active duty and between 830 and 4,160 in the reserves, according to a study conducted by the RAND Corporation last year. Of those, only 29 to 129 members actually receive the medical care needed to transition every year, based on the study.  (This addresses a common myth about being trans: Not everyone is transitioning.)

Keeping those numbers in mind, the study puts the increase of the military's medical costs between $2.4 million and $8.4 million every year. And while that seems like a lot, it's only between a 0.04 and 0.13 percent increase in the military's entire medical program spending, according to the same RAND study. (Related: The Crazy Way the Trump Presidency Is Affecting Anxiety In America)

Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine came to a similar conclusion and hypothesized that only an estimated 200 people would require transition-related medical care.

To compare, President Trump alone costs the government between $1 million and $3 million every time he travels from Washington to Florida, according to NBC News. But perhaps the most notable spending comparison is the amount of military spending the government allocates to erectile dysfunction. According to the Washington Post, the government spends $84 million each year to help men with erectile dysfunction—$41.6 million of which covers the cost of Viagra alone.

In other words, using the word "tremendous" to describe the costs needed to provide medical care to trans service members is a giant overstatement.

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