The Trump administration has delivered another blow to the LGBTQ community, this time by limiting access to critical health care services. Critics worry that the move is designed to target the transgender community.
The Department of Health and Human Services proposed the new regulations Friday morning. The rules aim to end anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ people, issued under the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare.
Roger Severino, HHS director of the Office for Civil Rights, said that the proposed rule will help to clarify the definition of “gender.” “When Congress prohibited sex discrimination, it did so according to the plain meaning of the term, and we are making our regulations conform,” he said.
Critics assailed the move.
“Once again, the Trump administration is actively working to harm LGBTQ people and their families by limiting access to critically important health care services,” said Denise Brogan-Kator, chief policy officer at Family Equality Council.”
The proposed regulation, which was published on the HHS website, seeks to deny care to LGBTQ people in the name of the so-called “religious freedom.” Under the new directives, health care workers, providers, hospitals, and health insurance companies that receive federal funding will be allowed to refuse or provide life-saving treatments to anyone, according to their religious and moral beliefs.
“Yet again, the Trump Administration strives to harm LGBT people; this time by rolling back crucial health care protections for LGBT people and other vulnerable persons,” Lambda Legal litigation director Diana Flynn said in a statement. “By repealing a regulation clarifying that LGBT people are protected against health care discrimination under the Affordable Care Act’s nondiscrimination provisions, the Trump Administration seeks to deny life-saving health care to LGBT people and others and replaces these critical protections with a narrow definition of sex, not grounded in science or the law.”
Earlier this week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it would gut homeless shelter protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people — just a day after HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced he wasn’t planning on it.