The latest attack on trans rights from the Trump administration is another salvo on access to health care. According to the New York Times, the Department of Health and Human Services plans to roll back an Obama-era rule that prevents discrimination in health settings.
If the policy change moves forward, guidance on nondiscrimination in health care programs would be reversed, allowing providers, facilities and insurance companies to discriminate against transgender people, as well as those who don’t conform to gender stereotypes.
Currently, this nondiscrimination rule, which clarified anti-discrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act to include gender identity and “stereotypical notions” about gender, means that health providers cannot deny services to transgender and gender nonconforming people on the basis of their identity — and this includes all health care services. Whether an individual seeks hormone therapy, emergency treatment for a head injury or insurance coverage for mental health, it has to be provided equally.
Members of the religious right insist that people need “conscience exemptions” so they aren’t required to provide health care services they disagree with. This argument is common in the realm of abortion and birth control services — and a recent Trump administration mandate allowing people to deny these services on the basis “moral conviction.”
Civil rights activists fear that these exemption rules could be used to justify abuse and discrimination of LGBT patients in a variety of contexts.
The religious right wants the public to think that transgender people are compelling health care providers to offer transition-related services, which isn’t true. These services are provided by people who actively and voluntarily pursue additional training in order to care for trans patients, working in the context of clinics that provide gender-affirming care.
Trans people don’t …read more