Washington, D.C. — Today, the Biden administration issued a new rule under Section 1557, the primary nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that prohibits discrimination in federally funded health programs and facilities. In response, Nicole Lee Ndumele, senior vice president for Rights and Justice at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:
This rule affirms what we’ve long known to be true: Nobody should be denied access to health care services based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics, including intersex traits. The proposed rule reverses harmful Trump-era regulations and meaningfully strengthens nondiscrimination protections, codifying that every individual—regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics—has the right to health care under the ACA. The need for these changes is clear: According to a 2020 nationally representative CAP survey, nearly half of transgender respondents reported experiencing some form of discrimination or mistreatment at the hands of a health provider in the year prior. Discrimination detrimentally affects the health of LGBTQI+ communities, and this rule is critical to ensure LGBTQI+ people are better able to access necessary and lifesaving care. Protecting LGBTQI+ communities from discrimination and ensuring robust enforcement is a crucial step toward advancing greater health equity.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s egregious decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has not only denied the right to an abortion but also put a variety of privacy and bodily autonomy rights at risk. Robust action such as these go far to protecting individuals’ rights to make critical decisions about their health and futures. Amid persistent attacks by MAGA extremists against LGBTQI+ rights and attempts to ban transgender people from accessing best-practice health care, we applaud the Biden administration for upholding these explicit civil rights protections in the country’s landmark health care law.
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