ACLU Responds to Proposed Changes to Health Care Rights Law

May 24, 2019 9:30 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services proposed a change to the Health Care Rights Law, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, today in an attempt to roll back non-discrimination protections for transgender and nonbinary people, as well as all women and other communities historically marginalized in health care.

The proposed regulation is one of several moves by this administration to redefine sex discrimination across federal law, including positions in litigation and a leaked memo that described an attempt to excise transgender people broadly from federal legal protections. Earlier this week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a rollback of nondiscrimination protections at federally funded shelters for transgender people experiencing homelessness.

Louise Melling, deputy legal director with the American Civil Liberties Union, had the following reaction:

“This move by the Trump administration is nothing less than an act of violence against those whose health care needs have historically been ignored, neglected, and dismissed. Transgender and non-binary people experience staggering rates of discrimination from health care institutions and providers. They face the denial of medically necessary health care related to gender transition, harassment from medical providers, negligent care, and the refusal of medical service altogether. The administration wants to take away protections to stop that discrimination, an action that will lead to devastating health consequences. The proposed changes would also strip protections from people based on reproductive healthcare decisions, including whether they have had an abortion.”

“This proposed rule is a central component of the Trump administration’s strategy to exclude transgender people from sex discrimination protections, as described in the leaked memo released last fall and reflected in positions the administration has recently taken in court. Despite the goals of this White House, however, courts have been clear for decades that prohibitions on sex discrimination encompass discrimination against transgender individuals.

“The fact that this rule has been announced following the murders of three Black trans women is particularly cruel and shows this administrations’ disregard for trans people.

“The ACLU refuses to allow the Trump administration to try to drag us backwards and roll back these essential, life-saving protections against discrimination. We will fight to make sure that who you are and the care you need will not be treated as a pre-existing condition ever again. Should HHS finalize this discriminatory rule, we will see them in court.”

This statement is online here:

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release