Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule to implement a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, section 1557, which prohibits discrimination in health care settings based on gender identity or gender expression. The proposed rule would protect transgender people from discrimination in health care settings that receive federal funding through HHS, including doctors’ offices, hospitals, and some health insurance plans, including plans sold through the federal or state exchanges.
Transgender Law Center’s Executive Director Kris Hayashi said:
“The proposed HHS rule is an enormous milestone for all transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. Access to safe, respectful health care is a basic human right, and this policy makes a huge advance towards equity in health care for transgender people. At the same time, we must ensure that this non-discrimination protection extends to sexual orientation as well. Sexism, homophobia and transphobia are all connected and sex discrimination is sex discrimination, whether a person is targeted for their gender identity or sexual orientation.”
Transgender Law Center has represented several clients who have faced the kind of discrimination that would be clearly prohibited under the proposed HHS regulations. Over 500 requests come through our helpline each year about health care coverage.
The proposed rule has the potential to eliminate the widespread health insurance practice of excluding life-saving transition-related care for transgender people, even though there has been a consensus in the scientific community for years that this care is medically necessary and the same treatments are covered for non-transgender people. Since 2012, 10 states and the District of Columbia have issued non-discrimination bulletins that ban the practice of categorically excluding coverage for transition-related care in private insurance plans.
Transgender Law Center praises the years of hard work our colleagues at the Center for American Progress and National Center for Transgender Equality have dedicated to ensuring this victory. To read more about the meaning and impact of today’s victory, visit NCTE’s breakdown and health care discrimination backgrounder.
Transgender Law Center changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.