Press Release • June 15, 2020

ENC Condemns Trump Administration's Rollback of Healthcare Protections for Transgender People

Raleigh – Today, in the midst of a global pandemic, one of the greatest civil rights moments of our lifetimes and on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a rule interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that removes clear protections from discrimination against LGBTQ people.

The rollback of these Obama-era protections do not change Section 1557 itself -- only Congress can do that, not the President -- or how the courts have interpreted it. However, it will likely open the door for and foster rampant discrimination against LGBTQ patients at the hands of healthcare providers. It also eliminates important reproductive protections, cost protections for people living with HIV or with disabilities, and language requirements for patients who don't speak English, which will increase discrimination against LGBTQ people who live at the intersections of these identities.

"Since taking office, the Trump administration has targeted the most vulnerable among us -- LGBTQ folks, immigrants, Black and Brown Americans -- time and time again. He is waging a war on the marginalized in order to maintain white supremacist power structures in this country, and it continues to be absolutely reprehensible," Equality NC Executive Director Kendra R. Johnson said in a statement. "COVID-19 is already ravaging marginalized groups, including our black and brown transgender brothers, sisters and siblings. Rolling back healthcare protections for our communities during this time is nothing short of cruel, and this administration continues to flaunt -- even celebrate -- its cruelty."

"It is especially important that health insurance plans -- like the State Health Plan covering 750,000 state employees in North Carolina -- reject this invitation to discriminate against transgender people and commit to covering the medically necessary healthcare that transgender people need," said Equality NC Policy Director Ames Simmons.

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