The Biden administration has reversed a Trump-era rule that stripped transgender people of some of their healthcare rights. The reversal will once enforce prohibition of sex discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Healthcare service providers that take federal funds will not be allowed to discriminate against people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. The move was applauded by LGBTQ advocates across the nation.
“Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences,” Xavier Becerra, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said in a statement. “It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone––including LGBTQ people––should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.”
The reversal comes after former President Donald Trump rolled back these Obamacare protections in June 2020. Trump’s administration defined "sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word 'sex' as male or female and as determined by biology." However, the Supreme Court ruled soon after that federal law prohibits job discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and a federal judge blocked the rule from going into effect.
As much as 25% of LGBTQ people who faced discrimination postponed or avoided receiving needed medical care for fear of further discrimination, HHS said.
“The mission of our Department is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. All people need access to healthcare services to fix a broken bone, protect their heart health, and screen for cancer risk,” said Rachel Levine, MD, assistant secretary for health. “No one should be discriminated against when seeking medical services because of who they are.”