The Department of Veterans Affairs should not be making "experimental" gender confirmation surgeries available to transgender veterans when there are people who are unable to get treatment approved for service-related injuries, Rep. Matt Rosendale told Newsmax Thursday.
"We're not providing the benefits that the veterans have already earned and should be receiving through their service-related injuries and yet we're talking about allowing this experimental surgery to take place for other veterans that is not service-related, and that is a big problem and we really don't have the total cost of what it would be," the Montana Republican said on Newsmax's "National Report."
The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announced the plan to offer coverage for all transgender veterans and that the move is part of an effort of the federal government to overcome a "dark history of discrimination" against them.
The National Center for Transgender Equality estimated there are about 134,000 transgender veterans, and about 4,000 are interested in having the surgery, and Rosendale said Thursday those figures are "troubling."
"What we don't have is the actual information about how much does it cost?" he said. "What we do know is 134,000 veterans that seemed to claim that they have gender dysphoria. It's been estimated that it costs $110,000 per person to change your physical appearance from a male to a female and about $90,000 per surgery to change your physical appearance from a female to a male. That's a lot of money and what we have are a lot of veterans."
Meanwhile, there are cases every day where veterans who have service-related injuries can't get their benefits and they are "standing in lines, and being forced away," said Rosendale. "It takes many, many months to receive those benefits. They're forced to go to other states to receive those benefits."
He added that as the ranking member of the House Technology Modernizaton Committee, he knows that the government has spent several billion dollars trying to get electronic health records straightened out, but still hasn't been able to achieve that.
"That would assure that the veterans receive their benefits in a more timely manner as well and transfer that information across the medical community to make that easier," Rosendale said.
The Obama administration had proposed a similar program during his term in office but had to withdraw it almost immediately because there was such an outcry from the general public that it was "not acceptable again to go in and propose this experimental surgery on all these members and spend all this money," he added.
Rosendale also spoke out about President Joe Biden's comments on gun control and the nation's crime, and accused the "radical left" in the Democratic Party of trying to take any opportunity possible to "remove guns from law-abiding citizens."
"We know that and they continue to ignore the fact that they have cried for defunding the police," said Rosendale. "It's the Republicans that continue to say we have to have law enforcement. We have to have them trained properly and let's get them into the communities so we can keep them safe again."
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