STATEMENT: CAP Executive Vice President Winnie Stachelberg on Rule Change Undermining ACA’s Discrimination Safeguards

Washington, D.C. — Today, on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse massacre, the Trump administration announced a new rule removing explicit nondiscrimination protections for transgender people and undermining the Affordable Care Act’s discrimination protections, jeopardizing the health of millions of Americans during a global pandemic in the process.

Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

“As the death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic stretches further past the grim milestone of 100,000 lives lost, the Trump administration published a new rule attempting to give federally funded health programs a license to discriminate in health care and insurance coverage. Doing so on the anniversary of the worst attack on LGBTQ people in the country’s history is particularly abhorrent.

Today’s rule attempts to gut the robust nondiscrimination protections under the Health Care Rights Law, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This move by the administration to undermine anti-discrimination protections in health care for LGBTQ people, women, people with limited English proficiency, people with disabilities, and others, including those who face multiple forms of discrimination, is unconscionable at any time.

To erode access to health care in the midst of a pandemic is unspeakably cruel. With this rule the administration encourages the denial of critical medical care for certain groups, including testing and treatment for COVID-19. Instead of focusing on scientifically proven interventions, the administration chose to ignore the input of  the nation’s leading associations of medical and mental health professionals over 130,000 public comments.

Today’s rule is further proof that the Trump administration is more focused on attacking the rights of transgender people, women, and immigrants than securing the nation’s health and wellbeing. “

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