The Biden administration is reversing a Trump-era rule; Banning discrimination against transgender people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity in the healthcare system.
According to Reuters, the new policy represents a reversal of a reversal. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Trump in June 2020 issued a rule that lifted some anti-discrimination protections under the Affordable Care Act, a law signed by former President Barack Obama in 2010.
HHS made the announcement on Monday. This discrimination prohibition applies to health care providers, insurers, and all other medical organizations that receive HHS funding. Queer folks who are discriminated against by their providers can file a complaint with the federal government, triggering an investigation and saving them from having to engage in a lengthy and costly lawsuit, reports Mother Jones.
“The Supreme Court has made clear that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. That’s why today HHS announced it will act on related reports of discrimination. Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences. It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone – including LGBTQ people – should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period,” says Xavier Becerra, HHS Secretary.
According to Truthout, a press release about the decision from the HHS pointed out that research has found a significant portion of LGBTQ people delay getting medical care due to fear of facing discrimination. There are several reports showing that LGBTQ people are often discriminated against by doctors and other health care providers and administrators.
“We applaud the Biden administration’s decision to enforce these non-discrimination protections in health care, particularly at a time when LGBTQ people are under attack from a record-breaking number of discriminatory bills being signed into law and moving through state legislatures across the country,” says Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David.
Even though this is a success, many LGBTQ activists continue to urge the Biden administration to pass the Equality Act which would “amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, federally funded programs, credit, and jury service.” Biden had made a promise to sign this legislation during his first 100 days in office but has yet to do so.