Trump admin seeks to roll back trans health care protections in Obamacare


Trump's religious conservative base has argued that the Obama administration stretched the meaning of "sex discrimination" when it included gender identity as a protected class. Earlier this month, they finalized rules allowing medical professionals to refuse care based on religious grounds.

There is a 60 day public comment period before the rule can be finalized.

The Transgender Law Centre claims the new rule will put up unnecessary borders between two million transgender people and the health care they need and would also weaken civil rights protections for patients.

Human Rights Watch has joined the Protect Trans Health Coalition, which will be organizing actions in the coming weeks to push back against the proposed rule.

"Yet again, the Trump Administration strives to harm LGBT people; this time by rolling back crucial health care protections for LGBT people and other vulnerable persons", said Diana Flynn, litigation director for Lambda Legal.

With the passage of the ACA, the law directed HHS in Section 1557 to apply existing civil rights laws to health care, including Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded programs.

"It's about the right of every American to be treated with dignity when they walk into an emergency room, meet a new doctor or find the right insurance plan".

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"This morning, without justification or cause - and apparently without any concern for the consequences - the Trump administration moved to undermine protections that allow people to seek and receive health care free from discrimination and judgment", said Debra L. Ness, president of National Partnership for Women & Families. The Trump administration says the notice requirement has become a needless burden on health care providers, requiring billions of paper notices to be mailed annually at an estimated five-year cost of $3.2 billion. Because these individuals lack state-level protections, federal law offers the only remedy if they are turned away from, or provided sub-standard, health care or insurance coverage based on their gender identity.

In a release announcing the proposed change, HHS pointed to a Texas judge's December 2016 injunction that kept the Obama-era rule from being implemented. A rule enacted in 2016 interpreted the ban on sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity, building on similar interpretations in other federal civil rights laws and court rulings, and termination of pregnancy.

"We are committed to full enforcement of civil rights laws before, during and after any rulemaking", he continued. And 22% said they avoided doctors or health care for fear of being discriminated against.

Last week, all three Republicans congressman in Mississippi's delegation voted against the Equality Act, which would have guaranteed LGBT people the same rights against discrimination that the 1964 Civil Rights Act guarantees people on the basis of sex, faith and race.

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has issued a number of policy proposals created to strip LGBTQ+ people of their rights. The Obama-era regulation prevented healthcare providers, hospitals, and insurers from discriminating against transgender patients seeking medical care. The move, however, will nearly certainly to be challenged in federal court.

"Fatima Goss Graves, National Women's Law CenterUnder the new proposed rule, the medical field would no longer be directed to take gender identity-defined by the Obama administration as one's "internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female, and which may be different from an individual's sex assigned at birth"-into consideration and would instead recognize gender as tied only to physical characteristics at birth".

But the agency intends to return to the "plain meaning" of sex discrimination that Congress intended, Roger Severino, director of OCR, said in a call with reporters.