“For generations, sex discrimination in health care – in pricing, in coverage, in access to care, in research, and more – has persisted, causing grave harm to women’s health. Until now, there was no way to challenge that discrimination but today, at last, that changes. The rule the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released today to implement the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) nondiscrimination provision is the first federal civil rights law ever to broadly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded health programs. The National Partnership for Women & Families worked tirelessly for this provision, which is a historic step forward in stopping sex discrimination in health care. For the first time in history, federal law provides comprehensive protections that prohibit sex discrimination in health care. It’s about time.
The ACA’s section 1557 prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin, disability and age, covering health care providers, hospitals, clinics, community health centers, insurers and other entities that receive federal funds of any kind. We are pleased that the rule issued this morning provides strong protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in health facilities and programs that receive federal funds. This is a game-changer that should help reduce the disparities that plague our health care system.
The Affordable Care Act has been the greatest advance for women’s health in a generation. Now that its antidiscrimination provision will be implemented, and with the vigorous enforcement we need, its accomplishments will continue to grow and the country will be better off as a result.”