Speak Out Now Against Health Care Discrimination

06.14.2019

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Today, the Trump administration continued chipping away at civil rights protections by proposing a rule that endorses discrimination in health care settings—putting patients’ lives and health at risk. This rule, published by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), rolls back the Affordable Care Act’s Health Care Rights Law, the first broad prohibition of sex discrimination in health care in federal law, established in 2010. Stripping these regulations could deny people across the country access to quality, affordable health care. Women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people whose primary language is not English—the communities the Health Care Rights Law seeks to protect—would be harmed the most.

Currently, thanks to the protections of the rules interpreting the Health Care Rights Law, health insurers, hospitals, clinics, or nurses that receive federal funds cannot:

  • Refuse to treat someone who is transgender, gender nonconforming, gay, lesbian, or bisexual
  • Refuse to treat a woman because she is pregnant, has had an abortion, or is unmarried
  • Refuse care to a newborn because of the parents’ sexual orientation
  • Sexually assault or harass patients

Should this rule—which essentially redefines “discrimination on the basis of sex” in the narrowest possible manner— take effect, insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, and nurses could feel empowered to deny patients care because of who they are, what language they speak, or their sex or gender identity. Additionally, the rule will cause confusion and legal uncertainty across the health care industry and discourage patients from seeking care.

Access to health care is a fundamental civil right: providers and insurers shouldn’t be able to pick and choose whom to treat, and the administration shouldn’t be allowed to prioritize the beliefs of providers over the health and welfare of patients.

You can help stop this rule from going into effect: submit an official comment to HHS and tell the administration: all people deserve to be treated equally, with respect, and without discrimination no matter who they are, whom they love, or where they come from.