Sadly, the Trump administration is moving forward with a devastating rule change related to Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). When the ACA was enacted and signed into law, it included special provisions (known as Section 1557) that made it illegal to discriminate in providing healthcare, including protections based on gender identity and/or sexual orientation. The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) released a proposed rule change that would gut these nondiscrimination protections, not just for LGBTQ+ individuals, but in a variety of other areas as well (pregnancy status and abortion history, as one example). Politico covered the impact of these rule changes last month and noted that Center for American Progress published findings that 8 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults and 29 percent of transgender adults said they had been turned away by a health care provider based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Now, the final HHS rule is being circulated within the Department of Justice and it is expected to be released soon without any revisions included from the comment period. Notably, none of this changes the law that was created, it creates a shadowy area where healthcare providers are allowed to engage in these discriminatory practices and only receive a smirk from the government as its enforcement response.
The National Center for Transgender Equality has been fighting against these changes at every stage, and NEAT was honored to endorse a national organizational statement condeming the rule revisions and how the government’s lack of enforcement of Section 1557 of the ACA will hurt Americans. The final statement will be released soon. We all hope this shocking period of anemic humanity ends soon, and that the government will support healthcare for all citizens, especially those who are already underserved or targeted by discrimination.