HHS proposes rollback of LGBTQ health care protections

It's the second rule this month the agency has put forward to allow healthcare providers to deny services to transgender individuals

HHS proposes rollback of LGBTQ health care protections

In addition, the Department of Housing and Urban Development this week proposed a rule that would also roll back transgender protections in housing, by allowing federally funded shelters to turn away transgender people for religious reasons.

The Health and Human Services Department released a proposed regulation that in effect says "gender identity" is not protected under federal laws that prohibit discrimination in health care.

In 2016, an article co-authored by Severino was posted to the website of the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, where Severino at the time worked, slamming the Obama-era transgender protections. In late 2016, Judge Reed O'Connor agreed with Republicans, ruling that Congress had only meant to ban discrimination on the basis of "biological sex".

According to a 2015 study, almost one-quarter (23 percent) of transgender respondents reported that they did not seek the health care they needed in the year prior due to fear of being mistreated.

US President Donald Trump's administration on Friday announced plans to roll back anti-discrimination protections for transgender people in the healthcare system, provoking an outcry from rights groups. "The definition of "sex" has been consistently interpreted by numerous federal courts and agencies - including HHS - to include discrimination on the basis of sex stereotyping and gender identity". The 2016 rule said that healthcare providers can not discriminate against transgender individuals, and the new proposal would strip that section.

"The Healthcare Rights Law was groundbreaking", Goss Graves said in a press call.

Congressman Joe Kennedy III, a Newton Democrat, on Friday slammed a Trump administration proposal targeting discrimination protections for transgender people in healthcare. That would mean health-care providers could refuse to provide transition-related services and some forms of reproductive health care.

HHS official Roger Severino told reporters that the administration was going back to the literal text of the ACA's anti-discrimination law to correct what it sees as an overly broad interpretation.

"It erases our identity and pushes us further into the margins because we're not allowed to be who we are", said transgender activist Sera Fernando expressing concern about the potential implications if the proposal were to become reality. HHS had proposed lifting another rule that required family planning clinics that take federal dollars offer women referrals to abortion services; that plan has been put on hold by a federal judge. Only fourteen U.S. states prohibit health insurance discrimination based on gender identity; ten expressly exclude transgender related care under state Medicaid policies.

"Today's announcement kicks off a several-week public comment period, where folks from across the country can write into the Trump Administration speaking out against the regulation, and then after that, a final regulation would be issued, which is when organizations or individuals would begin filing litigation against the rule", he said. Court challenges are expected.

HHS says that the change in regulations comes after federal court rulings that deemed the regulation "unlawful" and "contrary to the applicable civil rights law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act".

Antolovich says the exact implications of the proposal are somewhat unclear, but she fears it may give insurance providers the discretion to decide which medical procedures are necessary for transgender patients. HHS estimates it will save $3.6 billion in the first five years after finalization.

With Medicare, we're still analyzing the rule, but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have been doing a lot of good work to improve care for LGBTQ patients, and I'm not convinced that this rule would undermine that work.

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction in December 2016, noting that the Obama administration's definition of sex under federal statute was incorrect.

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