News (USA)

Trump administration will gut transgender healthcare protections

transgender rights
Transgender rights sign at the Women's March on Washington.Photo: Ted Eytan on Flickr

The Trump administration appears poised to gut protections under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for transgender individuals and pregnant people.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a motion on Tuesday for a voluntary reprimand and stay to halt ongoing litigation in a Texas federal court over section 1557 regulations that prohibits any entities that receive federal funding from discriminating on the basis of race, skin color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

The Texas court ruled in December, in Franciscan Alliance v. Burwell, that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was blocked “from enforcing the Rule’s prohibition against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or termination of pregnancy.”

The DOJ filing requests the regulations be sent back to HHS for review, to determine, as the filing states, ” to assess the reasonableness, necessity, and efficacy of the two aspects of the regulation that are challenged in this case, and to address issues identified by the Court in granting Plaintiffs a preliminary injunction.”

The implication being that the issue will be moot once the current HHS, now headed by Tom Price, who was a vocal opponent of the ACA and received a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, decides to rescind those protections.

HHS has already decided not to challenge the preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of said protections.

This would be yet another attack on transgender rights from a White House that backed away from trans student rights protections, reversing course on an Obama directive to public schools requesting they honor gender identity in bathroom and locker room usage.

“The Section 1557 regulation has been literally lifesaving for transgender people all across the country, who are routinely turned away from emergency rooms and doctors’ offices and refused coverage for critical medical care,” Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement. “Now the Trump administration is going after transgender people yet again and trying to take away these basic protections. The administration is rejecting the views of every major medical association, most courts, and most Americans, who believe that people should not be denied health care because of who they are. That’s not just bad science and bad law — it’s a dangerous attack on transgender people’s ability to survive.”

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