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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Trump-Pence admin targets LGBTQ non-discrimination healthcare protections
From press releases
2019-05-24

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From Human Rights Campaign:

WASHINGTON— Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization — responded to the Trump-Pence administration's latest attempt to undermine the rights and welfare of LGBTQ people and their families. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is proposing a major change to the administrative rule interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to remove explicit protections for LGBTQ people in healthcare programs and activities by excluding protections from discrimination based on sex stereotyping and gender identity.

"The Trump-Pence administration's latest attack threatens to undermine crucial non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people provided for under the Affordable Care Act," said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. "The administration puts LGBTQ people at greater risk of being denied necessary and appropriate health care solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Everyone deserves access to medically necessary care and should never be turned away because of who they are or who they love."

The Department of Health and Human Services is slated to publish the proposed revision of the implementing regulation for Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Friday, May 24, in the Federal Register. The public will have 60 days from then to comment on the proposal. Section 1557 of the ACA prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities. This landmark provision is the first of its kind to include protections from discrimination on the basis of sex in the context of healthcare. The definition of "sex" has been consistently interpreted by numerous federal courts and agencies — including HHS — to include discrimination on the basis of sex stereotyping and gender identity. The Office of Civil Rights at HHS began successfully accepting complaints and enforcing the ACA to protect LGBTQ people since 2012. HHS published a final rule implementing the ACA's civil rights protections to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping in 2016. More than 13,000 HRC members and supporters weighed in on this proposed rule in 2015. As a result of litigation HHS has not been processing claims related to gender identity, sex stereotyping, or pregnancy termination discrimination since 2016.

Fear of discrimination causes many LGBTQ people to avoid seeking healthcare, and when they do enter care, studies indicate that LGBTQ people are not consistently treated with the respect that all patients deserve. Studies show that 56% of LGB people and 70% of transgender and gender non-conforming people reported experiencing discrimination by healthcare providers — including refusal of care, harsh language and physical roughness because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to a report, 23% of transgender respondents did not see a doctor when they needed to because of fear of being mistreated as a transgender person and a startling 55% of transgender respondents who sought coverage for transition-related surgery were denied. Delay and avoidance of care due to fear of discrimination compounds the significant health disparities experienced by LGBTQ people.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

From Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

WASHINGTON — Today, the Trump-Pence administration released a proposed rule intended to undermine the ACA non-discrimination provision, the Health Care Rights Law. The proposed rule intends to scale back protections for transgender people and people who have had an abortion. Women and transgender people already face continued discrimination that limits their access to health care. Notably, nearly one-third of transgender people surveyed said a doctor or health care provider has refused to treat them due to their gender identity.

Statement from Dr. Leana Wen, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

"As health care providers, our first responsibility is always to our patients. By proposing to roll back critical protections that prevent discrimination against transgender people and people who have had abortion care, the Trump-Pence administration would — again — put their health and well-being at risk. This policy could widen existing health care disparities for the people protected by the Health Care Rights Law — who already face too many barriers to care. This is yet another attack on women and LGBTQ people from the Trump-Pence administration — populations that already face discrimination and limited access to care. Health care is a human right for all, and no one should be denied that right because of who they are."

This is not the first time the administration has sought to undermine health care rights and access — it's a priority for the administration. Earlier this month, the administration finalized a refusal rule that would allow a broad scope of health care workers to deny a range of health care services, including abortion, undermining access for both women and transgender people. This, on top of the Department of Education rescinding guidelines that require schools to accommodate transgender students; an effort to prohibit transgender people from serving in the military; and the Department of Justice declaring that civil rights law does not apply to transgender people.

Since taking office, the Trump-Pence administration has:

Issued a rule to allow employers to deny birth control coverage to their employees

Tried to block people from getting care at Planned Parenthood health centers

Tried to cut funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs

Taken away protections for sexual assault survivors on campus

Promoted abstinence-only programs

Appointed officials who dismiss science and vehemently oppose birth control — to oversee our nation's program dedicated to affordable birth control and reproductive health care

Repeatedly tried to block young, immigrant women from exercising their right to safe, legal abortion

Ended a longstanding policy that releases most pregnant women from ICE detention

From the American Medical Association:

AMA ON PROPOSED FEDERAL RULE TO ROLL BACK ANTI-DISCRIMINATION PROTECTIONS

Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A., President-elect, American Medical Association:

"The American Medical Association is assessing the full impact of the newly released regulatory proposal to remove anti-discrimination protections related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and termination of pregnancy across a wide variety of health care programs and insurance plans.

"The AMA strongly believes that discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Similarly, the AMA does not condone discrimination based on whether a woman has had an abortion.

"Respect for the diversity of patients is a fundamental value of the medical profession and reflected in long-standing AMA ethical policy opposing discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, or termination thereof.

"We are reviewing the breadth of the proposed rule, which encompasses and intertwines many separate laws. After a full assessment, the AMA will submit comments emphasizing that medicine is a healing profession."

From The National Center for Lesbian Rights:

NCLR says, "The Trump administration is inviting mistreatment of the LGBT community, which will likely result in thousands of people going without essential health care services and coverage."

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today the Trump administration announced a proposed federal regulation that would eliminate critical nondiscrimination protections in health care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) plans to eliminate key protections for LGBT people established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010. The Health Care Rights Law, also known as section 1557 of the ACA, prohibits discrimination in the delivery of health care or in health insurance coverage. The current regulations make clear that this anti-discrimination provision includes LGBT people and prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Today's announcement would rescind those protections.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights' (NCLR) Federal Policy Director Julie Gonen issued the following statement in response:

"Once again the Trump administration is on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of the law.

"The Health Care Rights Law ensures that LGBT people cannot be turned away by doctors and hospitals and health insurance companies, and now the Trump administration wants to eliminate those protections.

"With this proposed regulation, the Trump administration is inviting mistreatment of the LGBT community, which will likely result in thousands of people going without essential health care services and coverage.

"It is urgent that we come together and demand that the Department of Health and Human Services protect access to healthcare for LGBT people, withdraw this harmful regulation, and realize its mission of putting patients first."


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