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On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it had finalized a rule that will effectively reverse a policy that prohibited health care providers from discriminating against transgender patients. The original 2016 rule—Section 1557 of Obamacare—expanded protections by broadly interpreting gender, "which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female."
The Trump administration said Friday it will enforce the nondiscrimination clause "by returning to the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word 'sex' as male or female and as determined by biology."
"HHS respects the dignity of every human being, and as we have shown in our response to the pandemic, we vigorously protect and enforce the civil rights of all to the fullest extent permitted by our laws as passed by Congress," Roger Severino, head of the HHS civil rights office, said in a statement. "Now more than ever, Americans do not want billions of dollars in ineffective regulatory burdens raising the costs of their healthcare. We are doing our part to reel in unnecessary costs that add economic burdens to patients, providers, and insurers alike."
Those in agreement with the new rule cite it as a necessary means to do away with any confusion surrounding the legal interpretation of "sex discrimination." Severino continued explaining that "the substantive protections prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age, and sex remain in effect."
The rule is set to go into effect by mid-August and arrives two weeks into June's annual Pride month. In a darker irony, its finalization also marks the same day of the four-year anniversary and remembrance of the Pulse nightclub shooting victims, which claimed the lives of 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016.