If President Donald Trump's proposed ban on transgender service members go into effect, the government might be shelling out a staggering amount of money to pay for it. Estimates from a new report by the Palm Center state that Trump's trans military ban cost would total a whopping $960 million. Elite Daily's request for comment from the White House on that reported cost was not returned at the time of publication.
The report follows a period of uncertainty about policy, after Trump tweeted in late July about reinstating a ban on trans people serving.
According to the report, the huge number was obtained by multiplying the total number of transgender individuals currently serving by the average, per-person cost of recruiting and training replacements.
As of Aug. 4, the trans military ban had not been made official in any formal policy, according to ABC News. President Trump announced his "decision" via Twitter, to the apparent surprise of Defense Secretary James Mattis, The Hill reports.
One of Trump's main arguments for reinstating the ban was a claim about the high costs of medical care for transgender service members. Assuming the potential ban is still being reviewed and discussed as a possibility, the findings of the new study probably wouldn't help the case.
The study cites findings by the RAND Corporation, showing that the military currently spends, at most, about $8.4 million on transition-related healthcare. That's a heck of a lot less than $960 million.
The authors of the study calculated the average, per-person cost of healthcare for a transgender service member. They said,
The average annual cost of providing transition-related care for the entire population of transgender troops is $656 per transgender service member per year, because most transgender personnel do not require transition-related care during their military careers.
By contrast, the cost to replace and train new recruits would be $75,000 per person.
The math is clear: Per person, it would cost $75,000 just to try and save $656. Anyone who's talked themselves out of buying a $5 coffee just to turn around and drop their whole paycheck at Whole Foods knows exactly what this feels like.
The study's release comes after news late last week that five transgender service members sued the president. On Aug. 9, lawyers from GLBTQ Legal & Advocacy Defense (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) filed a lawsuit against Trump over the ban. The plaintiffs consisted, according to the official documentation, of five anonymous individuals.
Adding to the negative press, on Friday, the Daily Press published an interview with Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer where he disagreed with the principles of a potential ban. Spencer was quoted saying,
[O]n a fundamental basis, any patriot that wants to serve and meets all the requirements should be able to serve in our military.
According to the Daily Press, Spencer was nominated to head the Navy and Marine Corps by Trump.
But if anything, Trump does not appear to be dissuaded. On Thursday, Aug. 10, he doubled down on his original tweets announcing the ban, by calling it a "great favor" to the military, according to the New York Times.
Despite the president's insistence, if it's a number's game in the end, the potential ban might not look so good on the military's pocketbook.