June 12, 2020

Christopher Vasquez, NCLR Communications Director
415.365.1337 | cvasquez@nclrights.org

NCLR Denounces New Department of Health and Human Services Rule that Undermines Protections for LGBTQ Americans

WASHINGTON, DCToday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a rule that undermines clear federal protections against discrimination in health care based on sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. This is the latest in a series of attacks by the Trump administration against the LGBTQ community.

“Today’s action by HHS is not just a solution in search of a problem,” said Julianna S. Gonen, NCLR’s Federal Policy Director. “It is a shameful expression of hostility toward a community that regularly suffers denials of care and negative treatment in our health care system.”

“LGBTQ people should know that despite this mean-spirited move by the Trump administration, the Affordable Care Act’s underlying guarantee of health care access free from discrimination remains in place. While the federal government won’t help you, it also can’t stop you from going to court to secure your rights if that’s what it takes. NCLR stands ready to assist anyone who has suffered mistreatment by a health care provider or health insurance company simply for being who they are.”

In May 2019, NCLR released a statement condemning the proposed new rule announced by the Trump Administration as “inviting mistreatment of the LGBT community, which will likely result in thousands of people going without essential health care services and coverage.”

The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) contained the first-ever federal ban on discrimination based on sex in our nation’s history, and the Obama administration issued rules making it clear that “based on sex” includes gender identity and sex stereotypes. This meant that most LGBTQ people who experienced discrimination in health care based on sexual orientation or gender identity could file complaints with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within HHS, in addition to seeking redress through private litigation. Today’s rollback tells LGBTQ people that OCR is no longer a place to which they can turn.

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The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Since its founding, NCLR has maintained a longstanding commitment to racial and economic justice and the LGBTQ community’s most vulnerable. https://www.nclrights.org