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Report: Transgender health care would cost fraction of what military spends on Viagra, similar drugs

Published: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 @ 3:59 PM

Trump: Transgender People Won't Be Allowed In The Military

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that “tremendous medical costs” were partially behind his decision to bar transgender Americans from serving in the military. However, a report from The Washington Post showed that estimates for the cost of caring for transgender service members amount to just a fraction of what the military currently spends on erectile dysfunction drugs.

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The president did not provide any numbers to support his claim. However, the Post reported, a study commissioned by the Department of Defense and published last year by the Rand Corp. estimated that it would cost a maximum of $8.4 million per year to pay for transition-related care.

According to the report, the funds amount to “a 0.04 to 0.13 percent increase” in health care costs.

The American Medical Association said in a statement that there is “no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service.”

“AMA policy also supports public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender dysphoria as recommended by the patient's physician,” According to the Rand study on the impact of transgender individuals in the military, the financial cost is a rounding error in the defense budget and should not be used as an excuse to deny patriotic Americans an opportunity to serve their country. We should be honoring their service - not trying to end it.”

>> Related: Trump: Transgender people won't be allowed in the military

The Rand Corp. estimate amounts to about one-tenth of the amount the military spends each year on erectile dysfunction prescriptions, the Post reported.

A 2015 analysis of Defense Health Agency data by the Military Times showed the Department of Defense spent $84.24 million in 2014 on prescriptions for erectile dysfunction drugs.

In the period between 2011 and 2014, the newspaper reported, the military spent $294 million on erectile dysfunction prescriptions, “the equivalent of nearly four U.S. Air Force F-35 Join Strike Fighters.”

>> Related: What is the difference between transgender and transsexual?

A separate study on the costs of transgender health care, published in 2015 in the New England Journal of Medicine, estimated that about 12,800 transgender troops were serving in the military and eligible for health care. The cost to provide transition-related care would amount to about $5.6 million annually, or 22 cents per member per month, according to the study.

Aaron Belkin, the study’s author and director of the Palm Center research institute, wrote that, “Though my utilization and cost estimates are quite close to actual data provided by an allied military force, it seems clear that under any plausible estimation method, the cost amounts to little more than a rounding error in the military's $47.8 billion annual health care budget.”

>> Related: These 18 countries allow transgender people in their militaries

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday afternoon that the decision to bar transgender people from service was a “military decision” made in the face of what the president saw as policy that “erodes military readiness and military cohesion.”

It was not immediately clear whether the ban would include people who are currently transgender and serving in the military. Sanders said the White House and Defense Department would work together to determine how to implement Trump’s plan.

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2 soldiers killed in helicopter crash

Published: Saturday, April 07, 2018 @ 3:38 PM



Getty Images
(Getty Images)

Two soldiers were killed Friday night after an AH-64E Apache helicopter crashed during training at Fort Campbell.

It was the second fatal helicopter crash during training this week involving American servicemen.

>> Marine with local ties killed in helicopter crash was innovator who ‘saw silver lining in everything’

Gunnery Sgt. Derik Holley, 33, whose parents live in Washington Twp., was one of four Marines killed in Tuesday's crash of a Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

The names of the soldiers who died in Friday’s crash were not immediately released pending notification of families, according to the Associated Press.

Army officials said the soldiers were members of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 on board crashes into Pacific: Live updates

Published: Thursday, November 23, 2017 @ 8:09 PM
Updated: Saturday, November 25, 2017 @ 12:29 PM

U.S. Navy Aircraft Crashed into Pacific with 11 On Board

A U.S. Navy aircraft with 11 people on board has crashed into the Pacific Ocean, officials said Wednesday.

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Air Force pilot killed, 1 injured in crash near Texas’ Laughlin Air Force Base

Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 @ 9:53 AM

Lt. Col. Thomas Allen, 87th Flying Training Squadron commander, lands a T-38C Talon after a formation flight at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 18, 2017. The T-38 is the training aircraft used to teach student pilots the basics of flying. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)
Airman 1st Class Benjamin Valmoj/47th Flying Training Wing Public
Lt. Col. Thomas Allen, 87th Flying Training Squadron commander, lands a T-38C Talon after a formation flight at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Aug. 18, 2017. The T-38 is the training aircraft used to teach student pilots the basics of flying. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Benjamin N. Valmoja)(Airman 1st Class Benjamin Valmoj/47th Flying Training Wing Public)

One pilot died and another was injured Monday when an Air Force T-38 Talon crashed in Del Rio, Texas, according to officials.

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The T-38 crashed around 4 p.m. about 14 miles northwest of Laughlin Air Force Base, where the jet was assigned, base officials said.

Authorities did not immediately identify the pilots, citing the need to notify their families.

According to Air Force officials, “the T-38 is the training aircraft used to teach student pilots the basics of flying.”

>> Related: Veteran laid to rest with military honors thanks to kindness of strangers

The circumstances surrounding the crash were not immediately clear. Base officials said a board of officers will investigate the crash.

“Our biggest priority at this time is caring for the family and friends of our Airmen,” Col. Michelle Pryor, 47th Flying Training Wing vice commander, said in a news release. “We are a close-knit family, and when a tragedy like this occurs every member of the U.S. Armed Forces feels it. Our people take top priority, and we are committed to ensuring their safety and security."

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Navy plans operation pause, calls for review of collisions in the Pacific

Published: Monday, August 21, 2017 @ 11:45 AM

Damage to the portside is visible as the Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) steers towards Changi naval base in Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. The USS John S. McCain was docked at Singapore's naval base with
Damage to the portside is visible as the Guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) steers towards Changi naval base in Singapore following a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. The USS John S. McCain was docked at Singapore's naval base with "significant damage" to its hull after an early morning collision with the Alnic MC as vessels from several nations searched Monday for missing U.S. sailors. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/U.S. Navy photo via AP)(Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/AP)

The U.S. Navy will take a one-day operational pause in the coming weeks to “ensure we are taking all appropriate immediate measure to enhance the Navy’s safe and effective operation around the world,” Navy Adm. John Richardson, who is chief of naval operations, said on Monday.

The pause was announced on the same day officials said they were launching a broad investigation into the Pacific fleet in light of recent accidents, including Monday morning’s collision between the USS John S. McCain and a merchant ship in the waters of Southeast Asia.

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Ten sailors remained missing Monday, hours after the USS John S. McCain, a guided missile destroyer, and the 600-foot Alnic MC collided off the coast of Singapore, Navy officials said. Five other sailors were injured.

A search for the missing sailors was ongoing Monday.

"This is the second major collision in the last three months, and is the latest in a series of major incidents, particularly in the Pacific theater,” Richardson said in a video statement released Monday. “This trend demands more forceful action.”

The USS John S. McCain, named for Republican Sen. John McCain’s father and grandfather, who were both Navy admirals, was pulled on Monday evening to Changi Naval Base in Singapore. The crash left the ship with significant hull damage, allowing water to flood into nearby compartments, naval officials said.

“I don't want to speculate how the incident happened, but this area -- it's a busy area, considering the two vessels are about to enter the traffic separation scheme,” said Adm. Datuk Zulkifili Abu Bakarthe, head of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, according to The Navy Times.

The newspaper reported that about 80,000 vessels travel the strait each year.

>> Related: 10 sailors missing after USS John S. McCain collides with tanker

A defense official told The Associated Press earlier Monday that Richardson directed Adm. Phil Davidson, head of the Navy’s Fleet Forces, to lead the investigation.

The unnamed official told the AP that “Richardson wants to ensure there aren’t bigger problems that may be masked by the high pace of ship operations in the Pacific region.”

Richardson said the investigation would include “trends in operational tempo, performance, maintenance, equipment and personnel,” along with “surface warfare training and career development, including tactical and navigational proficiency.”

Monday’s crash was the second major collision involving a U.S. Navy warship from the 7th Fleet in two months, according to The Navy Times. It is the fourth accident involving a naval vessel in the Pacific this year, according to The Washington Post.

Seven sailors died and three others were injured on June 17 when a merchant vessel and the USS Fitzgerald collided in the Philippine Sea, about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. Officials determined that the collision was avoidable and dismissed the ship’s commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief after the crash.

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