The Hill

New Trump Regulations Allowing Health Care Providers, Hospitals To Discriminate Against Transgenders

Health care providers, hospitals and insurers may soon be allowed to “legally” discriminate against transgender patients. The Trump administration plans to introduce new policies that would remove an Obamacare rule that provides protection to transgenders. 

The Department of Health and Human Services is expected to issue the proposal on Friday. The agency is considering a replacement to the Section 1557 of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that currently "prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities," CNN reported Thursday.

"It was made crystal clear that Section 1557's prohibition on sex discrimination included discrimination against transgender people," Ian Thompson, a senior legislative representative at the American Civil Liberties Union, said. "The basis of that conclusion was decades of case law holding that trans discrimination is a form of sex discrimination."

However, some federal officials have criticized the law as it affects the religious beliefs of doctors. One federal judge in Texas issued a call to stop the transgender protections after five states and faith-based health organizations issued complaints. 

"Plaintiffs claim the rule's interpretation of sex discrimination pressures doctors to deliver healthcare in a manner that violates their religious freedom and thwarts their independent medical judgment and will require burdensome changes to their health insurance plans on January 1, 2017," U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor wrote. 

Some groups described the Obamacare rule as dangerous. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the plaintiffs in Texas, said the law mandate forces doctors to violate their Hippocratic Oaths to perform procedures that would emotionally and physically hurt children.

Meanwhile, equality groups condemned the HHS for the plan to remove the transgender protection rule. Gillian Branstetter, the spokesperson for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said discrimination against transgenders and stigma could increase their risk for suicide.

"These are not hypotheticals. These are not imaginary concerns," she said. "These are the realities that the members of the transgender community live with."

The HHS did not comment on the report. Advocacy groups said they plan to challenge the agency’s proposal in court.

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