Lambda Legal: Trump Administration Assault on LGBT People Continues with New ACA Regulation

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May 24, 2019

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed new regulations designed to roll back regulations issued during the Obama Administration that clarified that, pursuant to federal law, the sex discrimination protections of the Affordable Care Act forbid discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The proposed regulations would carve-out LGBT people from the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination protections, and purport to permit health care workers, doctors, hospitals and health insurance companies that receive federal funding to refuse to provide or cover health care services critical to the health and wellbeing of LGBT people, such as transition-related and reproductive care. The proposed regulations also seek to permit, yet again, health care entities and workers to be able to deny insurance or care to LGBT patients or policy-holders because of personal, religious or moral beliefs, endangering the lives of LGBT people.

Lambda Legal Litigation Director Diana Flynn released the following statement:

“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. By repealing a regulation clarifying that LGBT people are protected against health care discrimination under the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination provisions, the Trump Administration seeks to deny life-saving health care to LGBT people and others and replaces these critical protections with a narrow definition of sex, not grounded in science or the law.

“The move comes during the same week that HHS finalized its Denial of Care Rule inviting heath care discrimination against LGBT people and others, and the news that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is proposing a new rule that will allow federally-funded homeless shelters to turn away transgender people. These three regulatory actions, in one week, are just the latest in the Trump administration’s unrelenting campaign to promote anti-LGBT discrimination.

“The Trump-Pence administration’s targeting of the LGBT community is unmistakable and unconscionable. HHS should be in the business of ensuring that people get the health care they need, not providing excuses for providers and insurers to turn people away.

“No matter how ardently Trump administration officials may want to gut the civil rights protections in our federal laws, only Congress and the courts have that power. This latest assault on our rights will not go unchallenged. Anyone who experiences mistreatment in health care services based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status should contact our Legal Help Desk to discuss their potential legal options.

“In matters of health, such an assault is especially pernicious and potentially life-threatening. We are ready and we will fight it.”