Trump’s Transgender Service Ban Could Cost Nearly a Billion Dollars

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Supporters of Trump's proposed transgender military service ban say providing transgender-specific health care is too costly, but how much would it cost to replace every transgender service member?

The Palm Center took an in-depth look at the subject and found that the staggering cost of Trump's ban would overwhelmingly outweigh the cost of providing transgender-specific health care.

You can read their full report here.

Our estimate is that the cost of discharging all transgender personnel from the military would be $960 million. We arrived at our estimate by multiplying the per-person cost of recruiting and training replacements by the number of currently serving transgender service members: $75,000 x 12,800 = $960 million.

In addition, we compare the cost of fully implementing the President’s ban with two related figures. First, according to analysts at the RAND Corporation, and as addressed above, the cost of providing medically necessary transition-related health care to transgender personnel is, at most, $8.4 million per year.

When accounting for the fact that not all transgender service members require transition-related health care while serving, the Palm Center found that simply banning service members who require transition-related care would not save the service money because the cost of training is still higher.

The average total per-person cost of care for those who need it ($31,931) is higher than the average annual per-person cost of providing care for the entire population of transgender service members ($656) because most transgender personnel do not require transition-related care during their military careers.

Thus, even when focusing exclusively on those transgender service members who need transition-related care, President Trump’s announced ban does not make financial sense. On a per-person basis, the military would spend $75,000 to achieve a savings of $31,931.

I think we all know cost is not the true concern of people who support anti-transgender policy. If that were really the case, you'd expect similar resistance to insanely costly weapons procurement programs that grow tens of billions of dollars over budget.

  • muselet

    Can anyone recall a cost-saving measure proposed by an R actually resulting in cost savings? Because I can’t.


  • Ellen Kuhlmann

    has there been any response from the Pentagon on this? Last I heard they hadn’t responded pro or con.

    • The Pentagon will not openly disagree with Trump but we know they do. Basically they don’t need to say anything because the President has not officially enacted this policy change and until he does the Pentagon won’t do anything. On the other hand Trump’s team had created a plan for implementation signaling his intent to go forward. The lawsuit might be able to halt his going forward and for the Pentagon to express an opinion.

  • Christopher Foxx

    cost is not the true concern of people who support anti-transgender policy

    No more than the welfare of a child is the true concern of those opposed to abortion.

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    I agree with everything you just said, but…

    What I hate about this argument is that it shifts the argument to their terms.

    It’s like arguing about whether we should euthanize mentally impaired people because of their “cost to society.” Well, no, we shouldn’t euthanize murder them because murder is wrong.

    It’s the same here. It’s not about what it costs. It’s not that it makes sense to allow them in. It’s about the fact that discrimination is wrong. Period. Full stop.

    We shouldn’t allow them to shit the battle lines from morality (where we hold the irrefutable high ground) to a simple utility argument. It’s not about utility. It’s about right and wrong, and goddammit, some things in this world are right and others are wrong.

    • Badgerite

      You are right, of course, but what Ashby points out will undercut their argument in court that such a ban would be for reasons of military necessity or costs. So it does matter that one of the alleged reasons for the ban is not even remotely true.

      • Ozellakgorton

        my neighbor’s mother in law gets $60 an hour on the internet. she has been laid off for eight months, last month her payment was $18615 only working from home four hours a day… ➤go➤ to

    • JMAshby

      This isn’t shifting anything to their terms, it’s explaining why their terms — the foundation of their argument — is bullshit.

      Legally speaking, this could also be significant in a court room.