Here Are 10 Things That Cost More Than Health Care For Transgender Troops

trump bans trans troops

It's not uncommon for President Donald Trump's tweets to get the Twitterverse in a tizzy, but no one — not even GOP leaders — saw this announcement coming on July 26:

"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," Trump wrote in a series of three tweets. "Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you"

Um, "tremendous medical costs?" "Disruption?" "BURDEN???" Just how much are trans soldiers costing us each year?

According to one study, health care costs have risen by between $2.4 million and $8.4 million a year since the Pentagon decided in 2016 to allow trans people to openly serve in the military. Another estimate from 2015 puts that number closer to $5.6 million a year. 

That may sound like a lot to the average person, but when you consider the fact that the Defense Department's health care budget is almost $50 BILLION — that's billion with a "B," people — transition care for trans troops is actually "little more than a rounding error" in terms of overall military medical spending.

As of now, the Pentagon hasn't yet enforced Trump's order to kick out the 15,500-plus trans troops estimated to be currently serving in the military. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday that the Defense Department and the White House still have to "work out the details" of the ban on trans soldiers. 

So to help them (and you) get some more perspective on the issue, we've rounded up a list of ten things that cost a whole lot more than medical expenses for trans troops. (Warning: Some of these numbers might INFURIATE you.)

president trump caught golfing in new jersey
1 / 10

Trump's Trips To His Own Gold Clubs

So far, Trump has spent about $29 million in taxpayer dollars on his trips to Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster. (Here's another fun fact: Out of his 28 weekends as president, Trump's spent 11 of those on vacation.)

monkey drinking a beer
2 / 10

Getting Monkeys To Drink Alcohol

You read that right. According to The Washington Times, the National Institute of Health spent $3.2 million in 2014 to get monkeys drunk to find out if the alcohol has long-term effects on their body tissue. (That's almost $1 million more than the cost of health care for trans troops, if you go by the lowest estimate.)

border patrol agent walks along u.s.-mexico border

A Border Wall With Mexico

Trump's hypothetical border wall with Mexico would cost taxpayers an estimated $21.6 billion.

inspector general visits abandoned g222 aircraft fleet in kabul

A Fleet Of Planes For Afghanistan That Were Barely Used

An ill-fated, U.S.-funded program created 20 G222 planes for the Afghan air force at a total cost of $486 million. By the time the program was shut down in 2013, most of the planes hadn't been flown at all. Sixteen of were eventually reduced to $32,000 in scrap metal, and the other four remain in storage in Germany.

donald, melania, and barron trump in their trump tower penthouse in new york city

Security At Trump Tower

According to The Los Angeles Times, the Trump family racked up at least $30 million in travel and protection expenses during President Trump's first 100 days in office. (Just ONE of Melania's one-way trips from New York to Mar-a-Lago in May cost taxpayers $110,000.)

6 / 10

A Video Game About Escaping A Town Full Of Fat People

The Washington Free Beacon reported in 2014 that the National Institutes of Health paid $10 million to build and market "Escape from Diab," a video game about a teenager who has to flee a "nightmare" town full of fat people.

unused u.s. military building in afghanistan

An Unused Military Building In Afghanistan

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction launched an investigation in 2013 after finding out that the U.S. military spent $34 million to construct a 64,000-square foot building in Afghanistan that was never used.

doctor holds viagra
8 / 10

Erectile Dysfunction Medication

In 2014, the Pentagon spent $84.24 million on erectile dysfunction drugs (including $41.6 million on Viagra alone), according to HuffPost.

kemper county energy facility, a "clean coal" plant in mississippi
9 / 10

A "Clean Coal" Plant That Didn't Work

The Kemper County Energy Facility, a "clean coal" plant in Mississippi that was conceived under President George W. Bush, was shut down last month after it failed to produce technology that could convert coal into cleaner-burning gas. Oh, and the whole thing cost $7.5 billion.

prisoners at guantanamo bay military prison
10 / 10

Keeping Guantanamo Bay Open For A Year

In 2013, U.S. taxpayers spent $454 million to keep Guantanamo Bay open. The military prison holds only 41 detainees, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which works out to about $11 million per prisoner.



Haley is a writer, editor, and illustrator from Wisconsin, so please don't serve her an Old Fashioned unless it contains brandy. Outside of work, you'll find her aquascaping, getting bossed around by her bird, or planning another trip to Australia. She currently lives in Chicago, where she's having a hard time adjusting to the whole "no ketchup on hot dogs" thing. Feel free to send your pizza recs/Kardashian konspiracies her way. Currently reading: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @haleyhenschel.


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