On Friday, June 12, the day in Pride month when the Pulse nightclub shooting happened in Orlando in 2016, President Donald Trump stripped away protections for transgender people under the Affordable Care Act. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’s final rule narrows Section 1557 in the ACA .
The rule prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs or activities. The Trump administration has removed gender identity from the list of identities prohibited from discrimination. This means that the HHS cannot punish a healthcare provider or insurance company from refusing service to a transgender person because of their gender.
The new rule also lays out a blanket exemption to healthcare providers who refuse abortion services because of religious beliefs.
“HHS respects the dignity of every human being, and as we have shown in our response to the pandemic, we vigorously protect and enforce the civil rights of all to the fullest extent permitted by our laws as passed by Congress,” said Roger Severino, who directs the Office for Civil Rights in the HHS, in a statement.
The rule will go in effect in mid-August.
In May of 2016, Obama administration introduced two broad initiatives to combat discrimination in American schools and in healthcare institutions. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at the time that the actions “illustrate how consistent and forceful this administration has been about fighting against the idea that people could be discriminated against because of who they are.”
As The New York Times reported at the end of 2019, the Trump administration has rolled back transgender protections in both healthcare and education, many of which were put in place during the Obama administration.
“We’ve been a priority for this administration since the day they got in the door,” said Gillian Branstetter, a former spokeswoman for the National Center for Transgender Equality, who is transgender.
“We’ve been a priority for this administration since the day they got in the door,” Gillian Branstetter, a former spokeswoman for the National Center for Transgender Equality told the Times.
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