Statement on Reversal Of Transgender Health Protections

On June 12th, 2020, the Trump Administration announced “substantial revisions” to Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. 

This section of the ACA “prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age and disability in health programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.” 

In 2016, the rule’s definition was expanded by the Obama administration to encompass discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.  The revision announced today eliminates the 2016’s provisions: “under this final rule, each State may balance for itself the various sensitive considerations relating to medical judgment and gender identity.” These revisions are set to go into effect 60 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register (currently anticipated to be in mid-August) unless the courts put a hold on the action. 

What could this revision mean?

This reversal means that health providers and insurers would be able to deny healthcare and insurance coverage based on gender identity as well as based on sexual orientation. This would also allow an insurance company to charge higher fees for gender affirming procedures. 

Queering Medicine strongly opposes this change. This is a direct attack on our most vulnerable communities, who already struggle with discrimination and biases in our current healthcare system. The COVID-19 pandemic has unmasked many health disparities that will only be exacerbated by this new policy, and LGBTQA+ communities deserve to live freely and receive quality health care.