May 13, 2016

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services today issued a final rule implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act that would, among other aspects, prohibit sex discrimination for patients seeking health care. 

Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, had this reaction:

“These life-changing protections will have a profound impact on the health and well-being of millions of people in the country. This is a particularly significant win from the Obama administration for women and LGBT patients who previously had no protection under federal law against discrimination in health care. The ACLU is thrilled that the rule makes clear that it is illegal to deny medically necessary health care coverage for gender dysphoria. In addition, we applaud HHS for rejecting calls to include a new religious exemption that would have allowed sex discrimination.

“While we had urged HHS, consistent with a landmark EEOC ruling and developments in the law, to make explicitly clear that discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal, the rule clarifies that discrimination based on sex stereotypes is unlawful. As HHS implements this rule, we urge the department to ensure it is providing robust protections to women and LGBT individuals.”

More information on the rule is here:
https://www.aclu.org/other/hhs-rule-implementing-nondiscrimination-provision-affordable-care-act

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