POLITICS

Georgia Spent $1 Million to Save $10,000

But it was never about the money

Caren White
3 min readMar 22, 2023

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Image by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay

It never ceases to amaze me the lengths that red states will go to to stand on their principles. Take Georgia, for instance. Okay, Georgia is more of a purple-y state these days but since it is transitioning (ooh, pun!) from a red state to a blue state, for today, we will consider it a red state.

Anna Lange, a sheriff’s deputy in Houston County, Georgia, bravely came out as transgender in 2017 after ten years with the Sheriff’s Department.

Apparently no one had a problem with it. I guess it’s easier to come out when you’re carrying a gun than it is as a timid teen.

Anyways, she turned to her employer-provided health insurance to pay for her gender affirming surgeries but was told that those procedures were not covered in the plan.

Lange scraped together the money for top surgery in 2018, using both savings and retirement funds. But she couldn’t afford the $25,000 needed for bottom surgery.

So, she appealed the exclusion of gender affirming surgery with the administrators of her health plan but was denied in 2018 and again in 2019. Next, she appealed to the county board of commissioners to remove the exclusions. And was denied again.

Mind you, Houston County, Georgia bills itself as “Georgia’s most progressive county,” so this couldn’t possibly be about discriminating against transgender people, right?

No, the board claimed it was about cost. It would cost the county $10,000 more each year to include gender confirmation surgery in the health insurance plan offered to employees.

$10,000 sounds like a lot of money, doesn’t it? But it is actually a 0.1% increase in the cost to include gender affirming care in the county health insurance plan.

Lange sued. The county fought back, eventually spending $1,188,701 on lawyers, only to lose in 2022 and be forced to add coverage for gender affirming surgery. According to ProPublica, that million dollars represents three times the county’s annual budget for health insurance.

Wow. They spent over a million dollars to save $10,000. But it was never about the money, was it? It…

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Caren White

Top Writer in Politics and Government. I always speak my mind. Follow me on Mastodon @carenawhite