Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is expected to release a new rule that could see health care providers deny coverage to transgender men and women. While the Affordable Care Act currently bans discrimination based on sex, race, color, age, disability, gender identity, and past procedures related to a certain sex discrimination based on procedures associated with a certain sex, like abortion (thanks to a 2016 ruling), if a health care provider receives federal funds.
According to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty: “The government has no business forcing doctors to violate their medical judgment and perform harmful gender transition procedures on children.” This interpretation is nonsense: the Affordable Care Act’s anti-discrimination rule says that health care providers can’t discriminate when it comes to providing services they normally provide to everyone else. So an oncologist can’t turn away a cancer patient just because the patient is transgender.
LGBT organizations are extremely concerned that a new rule (which a final version hasn’t been released) will be hostile to the LGBT community. “This has been something we’ve been raising alarm bells about for a while,” Joshua Block of the ACLU said. “I don’t think they [HHS] are going to have an easy time… and we’ll make sure they hear every objection and justify what they’re doing,” Block said.