Transgender troops have cost the U.S. government nearly $8 million since 2016, according to new data obtained by USA Today.
The data shows over 1,000 members of the armed forces have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria as of this month. That's about five-hundredths of a percent of the total armed forces population. In that group, there were 161 surgeries.
President Donald Trump has been pushing a ban on transgender troops for years, citing "tremendous medical costs and disruption."
But the cost isn't as large as it may sound, nor is it a surprise. The RAND Corporation — a federally funded think tank — said in a 2016 study the cost would be minimal. Researchers wrote it would increase the annual $6 billion health care budget by between $2.4 million and $8.4 million. The group also suggested that the medical treatments would limit between 25 and 130 active-duty soldiers from deployment. By contrast, there are 50,000 active-duty troops in the Army who can't deploy for other reasons.
As Newsy previously reported, some experts say discharging them would be more expensive than keeping them on. After the ban was introduced, a report put together by current and former Naval Postgraduate School professors said discharging transgender troops would cost the military $960 million.
USA Today reported the findings hours before a House Armed Services Committee hearing on transgender troops on Wednesday. President Trump's proposed ban on transgender troops is not currently in effect because of lawsuits.