A recent announcement made by the Biden Administration will mean that LGBTQI American’s can no longer be discriminated against within health settings.

The much-anticipated announcement brings with it the end one the most divisive legacies of Donald Trump’s time in office. Last June the Trump administration had removed non-discrimination protections for LGBTQI people in health care and health insurance.

Reversing Trump Policy

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Trump’s announcement itself was a winding back of clear and established laws surrounding sex discrimination in healthcare  as established in Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

“Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra 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.”

One of the biggest threats to equal protections stemmed from how the Trump administration changed the definition of “sex discrimination” to make it only applicable when someone faced discrimination for being either male or female. It thus failed to protect people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity outside of biological assignment.

However, a landmark case from late last year Bostock v. Clayton County ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protected employees against discrimination because they are gay or transgender. This announcement from the Biden Administration affirms the ruling on this case made by the US Supreme Court.

Healthcare Without Discrimination

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Due to this action being taken by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which affirms that federal laws forbids sex discrimination in healthcare, it will also mean that HHS Office for Civil Rights will recommence investigations into complaints raised around sex discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Welcoming the news GLAD Executive Director Janson Wu said in a statement “We applaud the Biden-Harris Administration for its affirmation that access to health care without discrimination is a matter of equity and fairness and is critical to individual wellbeing.”

“We hear frequently from LGBTQ people reporting discrimination they experience in healthcare settings and programs, including insurance coverage, and we know that such discrimination leads to negative health outcomes in our community. It is welcome news that the Office of Civil Rights will enforce the law to address anti-LGBTQ discrimination.”

Hospitals, clinics and other medical providers can now face government sanctions in found to be in violation of these law.

 

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