TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued its final rule that rolls back critical anti-discrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). HHS plans to abandon the protections under the Health Care Rights Law — Section 1557 of the ACA — which prohibits insurance companies, hospitals and doctors that receive federal funding from denying patients care because of who they are, what language they speak, their sex or gender identity or the color of their skin. Even though the repeal of this regulation does not change how the courts have interpreted Section 1557, it will open the door — and even encourage — rampant discrimination against LGBTQ+ patients by eliminating key anti-discrimination protections. Stereotypes and discrimination should never determine access to health care services or quality patient care.
Scott McCoy, SPLC Action Fund’s interim deputy legal director for LGBTQ Rights & Special Litigation issued the following statement:
“It is unconscionable that in the middle of a global health crisis, the Trump administration would issue its final rule that will roll back protections for LGBTQ+ patients under the Affordable Care Act. It is even more cruel and dangerous to rollback anti-discrimination protections during a pandemic that is disproportionately harming Black and brown people. This rollback will put patients’ lives and health in danger. Millions of people who are already susceptible to discriminatory practices should not be left without federal protections against discrimination.
“This final rule also harms those who are already highly likely to face bigotry and discrimination in health care settings. According to one study, 56% of LGB people and 70% of transgender and gender non-conforming people have been harassed or denied health care.
“No one should be denied health care because of who they are. SPLC Action Fund is dedicated to ensuring that everyone is treated fairly, and with dignity and respect. HHS should put patients first and immediately rescind this cruel regulation.”