(PresidentialWire.com)- The White House is advancing efforts to undo limits the Trump administration put on health-care protections for transgender and gay people.
A new rule put forth by the Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services would end up strengthening rules under ObamaCare that would prohibit any discrimination on the basis of gender identity, sex and sexual orientation for certain health activities and programs.
The rule would also attempt to protect people from discrimination if they were seeking reproductive services, which would also include people who have gotten an abortion.
Many protections that these people had under federal law were removed under former President Donald Trump. Essentially, workers in the health-care field were no longer barred from discriminating and not providing care to patients based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In a media briefing recently, Xavier Becerra, the secretary of HHS, said:
“We want to make sure that whoever you are, whatever you look like, wherever you live, however you wish to live your life, that you have access to the care that you need.
“We know that in many states, communities, our transgender community are feeling like they’re being left out. This I hope will send a signal that if you are seeking health care, and you have a right to access that care, we will protect the right against discrimination.”
The protections of the new rule would fall under the Affordable Care Act’s Section 1557. That section prohibits any discrimination against people based on their race, national origin, color, age, disability and sex for certain health activities and programs.
Officials with HHS say their goal was to bring the ACA’s policies more in line with a Supreme Court decision handed down in 2020 that ruled all federal laws regarding discrimination in the workplace also pertained to transgender and gay people.
Many states have been looking to rein in medical care for transgender people, and those efforts have seemingly stepped up after the Supreme Court ruled to overturn the landmark 1973 case of Roe v. Wade.
Advocates have begun to become more worried that other policies would eventually discourage certain patients from seeking out medical treatment because of the fear that they would be discriminated.
Under Trump, the policy continued protections based on the same factors outlined above. However, it updated the definition of sex to very narrowly refer only to “biological sex.” This meant that transgender people were not covered under the protections.
That all would change if this new HHS rule goes into effect.
In a statement, Melanie Fontes Rainer, the acting director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, said:
“Now more than ever, we must stand up for those around the country whose voices often go unheard, to let them know we stand with them and are working to ensure they can access health care free from discrimination. Today’s proposed rule is a giant step in working to ensure that goal is met.”