This morning, without justification or cause — and apparently without any concern for the consequences — the Trump administration moved to undermine protections that allow people to seek and receive health care free from discrimination and judgment. A historic step forward for our country, the Health Care Rights Law (Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded health programs and activities. It was badly needed and long overdue and, despite the Trump Administration’s action, it remains the law of the land. Like other civil rights laws, it must be upheld and enforced.
But today’s rule by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) attempts to gut the essential law. It is an appalling, dangerous move that will result in more discrimination in health care and fewer people getting the coverage, treatment and care they need. Already marginalized communities are likely to suffer the most: women, the LGBTQ community, people of color, people with disabilities, and those with limited English proficiency.
This rule comes just weeks after the Trump administration finalized the “refusal rule”, allowing individuals and entities to use their religious beliefs to refuse to provide patient care. Absolutely nobody should face discrimination when they are trying to access medical care. We should be working together to make care available to everyone in this country — not rolling back essential protections that made health care more accessible. Our nation’s women and families deserve better than this.