The Biden administration is restoring health care protections for transgender people.
On Monday, per the Associated Press, President Biden announced that the Department of Health and Human Services had again affirmed that federal laws against sex discrimination also protected gay and transgender Americans. During the Trump era, notably, the previous administration had insisted on the exclusion of transgender people from discrimination protections in health care.
The Trump administration had pushed an argument centered on only acknowledging what was assigned to someone at birth, even after a federal judge blocked their discriminatory rules from being implemented. The Biden administration’s policy, per the AP report, will see the HHS being brought “into line” with a 2020 Supreme Court decision over a workplace discrimination case.
“The Supreme Court has made clear that people have a right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex and receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a press release on Monday. “That’s why today HHS announced it will act on related reports of discrimination. Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences. 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.”
Prior to the Trump administration’s rights-denying stance, the Obama administration had included an anti-discrimination protection in the Affordable Care Act. Per the HHS’ latest statement, “covered entities” are prohibited from “discriminating against consumers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
In April, Biden said the country must recognize that “too many transgender people” are still facing systemic barriers to freedom and equality.
“As we work to change the hearts and minds, we also have to change the laws,” Biden said when making a virtual appearance at the NCTE Trans Equality Now Awards ceremony: