STATEMENT: CAP’s Winnie Stachelberg on Proposed ACA Regulations Protecting LGBT Americans from Discrimination in the Health Care System
Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Executive Vice President for External Affairs Winnie Stachelberg issued the following statement today in support of proposed regulations released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA. Among other critical protections, this proposed rule confirms that the Affordable Care Act’s ban on sex discrimination in health care includes discrimination based on gender identity and sex stereotyping.
The proposed rule establishing that the Affordable Care Act’s primary nondiscrimination provision, Section 1557, applies to LGBT people is a significant victory for LGBT equality. As we saw from the recent introduction of the Equality Act by more than 200 members of Congress, the charge is growing across the country to eradicate the discrimination that LGBT people and their families continue to encounter in fundamental areas of everyday life, such as health care. These regulations are a critical component of making the right to affordable health coverage and high-quality health care a reality for everyone in America, including LGBT people and their families. We look forward to working with the Department of Health and Human Services to finalize robust regulations codifying these vital protections and to ensure that sexual orientation is explicitly included alongside gender identity and sex stereotyping in the final rule.
Although Section 1557 has been in force since the law’s passage in March 2010, the release of this proposed rule is a critical component of ensuring that all Americans are able to access the health coverage and care they need without encountering discrimination on the basis of their race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex, including gender identity and sex stereotyping.
Research from the Center for American Progress indicates that many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, people—especially transgender people—experience rampant discrimination in health insurance, leaving many uninsured. LGBT people seeking health care also frequently report discrimination, such as a provider refusing to treat them, being verbally abusive, or acting in a physically rough or violent manner.
Among other provisions, the proposed rule:
- Prohibits insurance plans from categorically excluding coverage for transgender individuals
- Protects access for transgender individuals to medically necessary health care services and appropriate accommodation according to their gender identity in sex-segregated facilities
- Prohibits discrimination against any individual—including lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals—on the basis of stereotypical notions of femininity or masculinity
Related resource: Their Baby Was Denied Access to Care Because They Are Gay by Andrew Satter and Sarah McBride
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.481.7141.