Trump To Eliminate Rule Protecting Gay, Transgender Patients From Discrimination
The Trump administration released a final rule on Friday that eliminates non-discrimination protections for sex and gender identity, according to The Hill.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement that the government will interpret sex discrimination based on "the plain meaning of the word 'sex' as male or female and as determined by biology."
The protections, granted under the Affordable Care Act, “made it illegal for doctors, hospitals and other health care workers to deny care to someone whose sexual orientation or gender identity they disapproved of,” The Hill reported.
This was accomplished under the Obama administration “by expanding the health law's definition of sex discrimination to include gender identity for the first time ever; but those rules were blocked by a federal judge in 2016.”
The report added that "The Trump administration has worked to weaken the rules before they could take effect."
The Hill reported that the new rule “goes beyond the Obama-era protections by rolling back non-discrimination protections contained in other health provisions as well.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the rule removes protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity in ten existing regulations.
Advocates fear the new rule will make it easier for doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to deny medical care or coverage to transgender and non-binary patients and women who have had abortions.
Democrats said the move is particularly offensive amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"At a time when protecting communities from the COVID-19 pandemic is paramount, your Department and the Trump Administration are knowingly putting the health and wellbeing of vulnerable individuals and children at risk, while blatantly promoting discrimination against LGBTQIA+ communities and religious minorities by pursuing the finalization of this proposed rule," Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.