Florida’s Ban On Gender Care For Minors Blocked, Temporarily
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against the new law, saying that "gender identity is real" and suggesting Florida has no basis for denying patients' treatment. Separately, the volume of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation passed in the U.S. leads a rights organization to declare a "state of emergency."
US Judge Blocks Florida Ban On Trans Minor Care In Narrow Ruling, Says 'Gender Identity Is Real'
A federal judge temporarily blocked portions of a new Florida law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that bans transgender minors from receiving puberty blockers, saying in a Tuesday ruling that gender identity is real and the state has no rational basis for denying patients treatment. Judge Robert Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction, saying three transgender children can continue receiving treatment. The lawsuit challenges the law DeSantis signed shortly before he announced a run for president. “Gender identity is real. The record makes this clear,” Hinkle said, adding that even a witness for the state agreed. (Farrington, 6/7)
Los Angeles Times:
LGBTQ+ Rights Organization Declares 'State Of Emergency' In The U.S.
The volume of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation “is record-shattering,” said Cathryn Oakley, the HRC’s state legislative director and senior counsel. “It is a really scary time for LGBTQ people, and I am not certain everyone understands quite how scary it really is,” Oakley said. Republican-controlled state governments including those in Texas, Florida and Tennessee are at the forefront of the movement against LGBTQ+ rights, the HRC said, calling out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in particular for “criss-crossing the country to attack our community.” (Petri, 6/6)
In other health news from across the U.S. —
North Dakota Health Officials Urge Return Of Medicaid Renewal Forms As Thousands Lose Coverage
Officials are urging North Dakotans who receive Medicaid renewal forms to complete and return them within 30 days, given that thousands of people who were still eligible were removed from the program last month. State Health and Human Services says about 13,000 Medicaid recipients in North Dakota were due for renewal at the end of May, but thousands failed to return their forms, so many lost coverage even though they may still qualify, KFGO reported. (6/6)
The Colorado Sun:
Why A Big Showdown Over The Colorado Option Didn't Happen
Yesterday was supposed to be the day when the curtain lifted on the most momentous showdown yet for Gov. Jared Polis’ health policy initiatives — when hospitals and insurance companies would have gotten hauled into a public hearing to explain why their prices aren’t lower. The showdown has to do with the Colorado Option, the Polis-backed, government-designed health insurance plan that private companies operating in the state are required to sell. Colorado Option plans are required to be sold at lower prices — for next year’s plans, those prices are supposed to be 10% below a company’s 2021 rates. (Ingold, 6/7)
The Boston Globe:
State’s Largest Insurer Has Doubled Spending On Mental Health Care Since Start Of The Pandemic
In a sign of how the COVID emergency elevated the importance of mental well-being, the state’s largest health insurer disclosed it has doubled its spending on behavioral health services since the beginning of the pandemic and aggressively expanded its ranks of providers to meet swelling demand. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts reported this week that it spent $1.3 billion on mental health services in 2022, up from $610 million in 2019. The number of behavioral health visits likewise doubled, from 4 million to 8 million. (Freyer, 6/6)
On medical marijuana —
North Carolina Health News:
Could Medical Marijuana Make NC Roads More Dangerous?
Lawmakers are once again deliberating whether to legalize marijuana for medical use, an issue that has plenty of supporters in the state Senate but has failed to become law the past two legislative cycles. Sen. Bill Rabon (R-Southport), a primary sponsor of the bill and a colon cancer survivor, has been pushing for several years for North Carolina to join the 38 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and territories that allow the use of marijuana — also referred to as cannabis — for medical purposes. Reasons given for opposition to the proposal in years past have varied. This year, many of the bill’s detractors have argued that legalization would make North Carolina’s roadways more treacherous. (Thomae, 6/7)
The Washington Post:
Bothered By Pot Smell, She Sued Her Neighbor To Stop Smoking — And Won
A D.C. judge has ruled that a man who smokes medical marijuana in his apartment must stop after a neighbor complained that the odor from his marijuana crept into her home and caused a nuisance. Judge Ebony Scott ruled late Monday that while Josefa Ippolito-Shepherd could not prove she is entitled to damages, she successfully made the case that the smell is a private nuisance, and Scott ordered Thomas Cackett to stop smoking. Scott said that Cackett is licensed to buy marijuana but “he does not possess a license to disrupt the full use and enjoyment of one’s land.” (Kornfield and Bellware, 6/6)