Trump Administration Rolls Back Healthcare Protections For LGBT People
The Trump administration rolled back Obama-era healthcare protections for the LGBTQ community on Friday, ending the requirement of no discrimination and required translation services amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Specifically, the new rules reverse a policy that banned healthcare providers from limiting abortion services on the basis of gender identity. The Obama administration had rolled out protections for LGBTQ patients via a nondiscrimination clause in the Affordable Care Act, claiming that those patients often have a harder time accessing services.
However, some worry that the reversal will have a ripple effect and make it easier for healthcare providers, outside of abortion clinics, to discriminate against patients based on their gender or sexual orientation.
Roger Severino, head of the HHS civil rights office, argued that anyone will still be able to seek care and get treated, particularly for COVID-19.
“Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve gone into overdrive in terms of our civil rights enforcement, and that will not be affected,” he said. “Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and accordance with the law.”
The new rules “will eliminate mass confusion that was unleashed by the Obama-era decision to redefine sex to cover a wide array of gender identities,” Severino said.
The changes also get rid of the requirement for most healthcare providers that they post information in 15 languages and have a robust translation program.
That change could negatively impact minority communities, whom the coronavirus pandemic has already disproportionately affected.
But Severino claimed the postings were often unnecessary and had created a burden for providers. The change would cause the healthcare industry to save about $3 billion over five years.
The changes, especially the revoking of the nondiscrimination requirement, caused immediate outrage.
“To commemorate Pride month, the Trump Administration just made it harder for the LGBTQ community to access healthcare during a pandemic,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) tweeted. “Their cruelty knows no bounds.”
To commemorate Pride month, the Trump Administration just made it harder for the LGBTQ community to access healthcare during a pandemic.
Their cruelty knows no bounds. https://t.co/ozhsbGubax
— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan) June 12, 2020
Retired U.S. Navy Commander Phil Ehr criticized the move and noted the poor timing that it would come on the anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida.
“In the middle of Pride month, on Pulse’s anniversary, and during a national pandemic, the Trump administration is trying to make it harder for the LGBTQ+ community to access healthcare,” Ehr wrote. “No American should be discriminated against because of who they are and who they love.”
In the middle of Pride month, on Pulse’s anniversary, and during a national pandemic, the Trump administration is trying to make it harder for the LGBTQ+ community to access healthcare.
No American should be discrimated against because of who they are and who they love. https://t.co/iG0EfmtwIe
— Phil Ehr (@PhilEhr) June 13, 2020
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced Friday it will file a lawsuit to block the rollback of anti-discrimination protections afforded to transgender people seeking healthcare.