Yesterday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) praised the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights for implementing a regulation that provides explicit protections from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotyping, including for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people, in healthcare and insurance under the provisions of Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“Access to healthcare should never be denied because of your sexual orientation or gender identity,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “LGBT people have too often faced healthcare systems that provide inequitable and hostile treatment. This new and important regulation will address many of these disparities and is critical to help end discrimination against transgender and gender nonconforming people in healthcare and insurance. The Affordable Care Act has made a tremendous impact on the lives of millions of Americans, and this regulation makes clear that LGBT people and their unique needs are included in the protections it provides.”
HRC has repeatedly called on the Administration to implement these essential protections. In November of last year, HRC staff delivered 13,398 public comments from our members and supporters in response to the proposed rule change.
Discrimination has touched the lives of many LGBT people at all points in the healthcare system – from being unable to access insurance coverage, to outright refusals to provide care, to verbal and physical abuse at the hands of medical professionals.
This new regulation makes clear that transgender people must be treated consistent with their gender identity and cannot be denied care provided to anybody else, even when it’s transition-related care. We are disappointed that the regulation does not provide sufficient clarity around discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. However, prohibitions on discrimination resulting from sex-stereotyping will provide significant protections for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. Any individual who has experienced discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in the provision of health care or insurance should file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.